PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A store owner who deputies fired more than a dozen shots at Saturday afternoon is saying he was terrified in that moment, and he feels he did nothing wrong.
There are two separate investigations after Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies fired at people Saturday.
They are looking now for John Johnson Jr. who they say reached for a gun causing deputies to fire at him behind Blue Angel Groceries on Olive Road. This started as a call of a suspicious vehicle parked behind the business, and Johnson was in the car sleeping.
Later that day, deputies learned a witness to that shooting lied about who he was. Hassan Moorer gave deputies a different name. He had several outstanding warrants and was later arrested Saturday night.
As deputies were looking for him, they went back to the business and that’s where the owner of Blue Angel Groceries, Hassan Alissa, says they fired shots at him. Alissa said he was in the back sleeping when the sheriff’s office showed up. He didn’t know it was them but he says he was trying to protect himself and his employees.
“It scared me to death honestly,” Alissa said. “I really was scared to death.”
Alissa says he heard some commotion and thought his employee in the front was being robbed or hurt.
“I barely open the door, and I put my head out the door,” Alissa said. “The police officer… she was standing over there, she started shooting at me, three times she shoots, I close the door and get back.”
His surveillance cameras were ripped from the ceiling and there are 14 bullet holes in the wall. One of those narrowly missed him in the room. He says he did have a gun, but when he realized it was law enforcement, he threw it on the bed and said that aloud.
“I realize after that she’s a police officer, I stay on the floor,” he said. “I say I am on the floor. I am unarmed. Please don’t shoot.”
They were looking for Hassan but it was a different man with the same first name who was wanted for a robbery down the street. He heard the female deputy saying his name but he never knew who she was.
“Hassan! Hassan!” he recounted. “Like three or four times… I can’t remember..but I heard my name clearly. That’s all the things I heard… just my name.”
He wants people to know he was in self-defense mode in the moment.
“I’m the victim,” he said. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
He called 911 and said he credits God and the 911 dispatcher for keeping him alive. He said the dispatcher guided him through what to do and how to stay calm in the moment.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office says the deputies involved are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The following is the information ECSO has released on the investigation:
“On 3/27/2021 at 3:51 a.m., the ECSO responded to a call for a suspicious vehicle parked in the back lot of Blue Angel Groceries on Olive Road and Whitmire Road. When the deputy arrived, he located a suspect sleeping in his vehicle. The deputy observed a hand gun and numerous narcotics in plain sight on the floorboard between the suspect’s feet. The deputy woke the suspect and attempted to take him into custody. The suspect exited the vehicle and engaged in two physical altercations with the deputy while attempting to flee on foot. The suspect then returned to his vehicle and reached toward where the firearm was located, forcing the deputy to fire at him. The suspect escaped on foot. A perimeter was established, but the suspect was not located. A large amount of narcotics and a firearm were located inside the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect was identified as John Lee Johnson Jr. There were no injuries reported.
During the investigation, one of the witnesses provided a false identity to investigators. It was determined that the witness, later identified as Hassan Moorer, had active warrants for Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Larceny, Robbery with a Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Battery with Bodily Harm and Robbery with a Firearm.
Deputies returned to the Blue Angel Grocery looking for Hassan Moorer and they were directed to the back of the open store by an employee. When deputies entered the building and announced their presence, they were met with an individual, who was not Hassan Moorer, pointing a firearm in their direction. Deputies fired at the individual and were able to secure the area. The ECSO SWAT Team was activated and arrived on scene. The individual surrendered and there were no injuries. The investigation is still ongoing in reference to the firearm being pointed at the deputies. Per protocol, the deputies have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The ECSO is looking for John Lee Johnson Jr. (DOB: 3/19/84) who is wanted for Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer, Resisting with Violence, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of a Firearm while in Commission of a Felony, Sale/Manufacture/Deliver Cocaine, Sale/Manufacture/Deliver Ecstasy, and Sale/Manufacture/Deliver Controlled Substances.
(UPDATE: Hassan Moorer has been located and arrested.) The ECSO is also looking for Hassan Moorer (DOB: 12/6/82) who is wanted for Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Larceny, Robbery with a Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Battery with Bodily Harm and Robbery with a Firearm.”