Haight Street Merchants Say Sam Kazzouh, Accused Gunman, a 'Nice Guy'

Categories: Crime
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Innocent bystander
Dave Groeschel was working inside Mom's Body Shop at about 1:15 p.m. yesterday when he heard the gunshots outside. When he came out, he saw the victim, which the Chronicle reports is 52-year-old Michael Stafford, on the sidewalk -- he had been shot in the back. Beside the bleeding man was Gizmo, Stafford's small Chihuahua, wearing a pink sweater.

Groeschel was shocked by the shooting, but even more blown away when he found out who the accused shooter was: The shy and sweet guy who had been working next door to him at Fred's New Lite Supermarket for nearly two decades.

Groeschel had known both the victim -- who he said was possibly homeless-- and the accused shooter, Sam Kazzouh, 42, of Fairfield.

Stafford was always hanging around the corner store with his dog, and sometimes Kazzouh and his brothers, who owned the shop on Haight Street and Masonic Avenue, would give Stafford and his friends free food and stuff they needed when they didn't have money, according to Groeschel, who has managed Mom's Body Shop, a tattoo and piercing shop, since 1993.

"The market sort of helped take care of them," Groeschel  said.

But the relationship soured at about 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, when police say Kazzouh nudged the victim's dog, sparking an argument between the two. The Examiner reports that the victim then started yelling at Kazzouh, telling him that he was going to "kick his ass."

Kazzouh allegedly shot Stafford in the torso. The shopkeeper has been arrested and charged with three felonies, including assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a loaded firearm not registered to him, and shooting into a dwelling. Stafford remains in critical condition.

Groeschel said he has known Kazzouh the entire time he has worked on Haight Street -- and he has always been quiet and kind to everyone. He said he would see Kazzouh almost every day when he went into the supermarket to buy water or snacks.

"He didn't bother anybody," Groeschel said. "He basically minded his own business. When I saw police bring him out of the market, I thought 'Wow they've arrested Sam, that's wild.'"

Gevir Aviv, an employee at Shoe Biz, which is two doors down from the market, told SF Weekly that he only interacted with Kazzouh when he would go in to buy M&Ms.

"He's a timid dude," Aviv said.

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MST2010
MST2010

I visited San Francisco once and I hated it. Between the stuck-up yuppies and bums everywhere, it was terrible. And don't forget the fact that in July it feels like November and everything is sooo expensive. It's one of the most overrated cities in the country and I will never go back!

jim
jim

i have never heard such a crock in my life this guy shot a man in cold blood who cares if he was homeless? but i know for a fact that the victum worked in the park as a volunteer for park and rec and has nerver hung out all the time on or by freds market all the time in fact he has his own money and to my knoledge isn't homeless' what new life doesnt say is thier questioable interaction with the homeless o a day to day basis 9such as food stamps 4 booze i used to work across the street and know sam as a hothead and the store as a place that both complains and exploits the poor

annidez
annidez

I lived in the Haight for years between the late 90s and mid 00s, and I interacted with Sam at the market several times a week. He was never anything but kind, a little shy, and spoke proudly of his kids. His brother was a little more extroverted, but I never had any problem with them or the store. I was surprised Sam was accused of the shooting because I remember him being so laid back, but at the same time it was probably a long time coming. The young faux-homeless, the actual homeless, the substance abusers - they all linger and cause trouble. Look what happened yesterday to that poor little dog - it was surrounded by troublemakers and ran in fear, and it died.

samsclub
samsclub

Mike made threats, was thrown out of the store, came back 30+ minutes later, punched and cracked the front window of the store, came inside, screaming threats.Sam inappropriately grabbed the gun, and began firing after Mike challenged him to do so.Apparently, all of that is on tape. As well, other Haight St merchants have given statements regarding Mike telling them he was going to kill Sam or kick Sam's ass.Mike had been volunteering at the Park, but that's not all he did during the day.Mike did hang out on the corner; it was some of his hangout buddies there that let the dog run out into the street and get run over by car and killed.He might be your friend, jim, but that doesn't mean he was some innocent bystander that was shot "in cold blood".Do you even know where Mike lived? Does a van count as a home?!?If you could listen to yourself, you'd hear a lot of crock; you've dished out enough in this thread, for sure.

Fred's will not sell alcohol to chronic nuisance drunks.Most of the people that receive credit there are living on disability/fixed/limited income, and many of them do not drink any alcohol.

Sam never even kicked the dog. Apparently, he nudged it with his foot, as it was off-leash and underfoot, and he was stocking the coolers at the back of the store, hands full, and did not want to accidently step on the dog.Mike was looking for an excuse to bully someone, take out his own frustrations.If it were any other Fred's employee, other than the timid Sam, Mike would not have gone off at all. He picked on the one employee that he could yell at and threaten that he knew wouldn't yell back; he wanted to intimidate Sam, and he accomplished his goal, though the outcome was not what he'd bargained for: his shooting, and the death of his dog while he was hospitalized and unable to care for it.

The dog was loose on the street because the person who'd been watching it that day had tired of it being underfoot, and left with some of MIke's buddies on the corner.Will Mike now threaten to kick their asses, or to kill them?

samsclub
samsclub

Sad story gets sadder.Mike's dog was killed today, run over by a car at Haight and Masonic.

Adam
Adam

oh no. :(

pd
pd

It's killing me trying to figure out which one was Sam. He was the bald guy - or the other brother with the thick head of hair who is a little bit more social and not always in the exact same spot on the counter. Sam was always in the corner, often had a DVD or music going. Help me out - lived on that corner for years - and I can still go back once every few months and Sam says hello and has my cigarettes out for me. I loved that market for a lot of reasons - they had a way of making locals feel local. Such a sad thing for all involved - and I agree about calling them caretakers - they do a lot for some pretty thankless folks around that area, and they don't have to do any of it.

Andywarthol
Andywarthol

It's basically a scene straight out of the "Spike Lee joint Do the Right Thing" where the shopkeeper snaps after being a caretaker for the community for decades.

I have known Sam for many years and I also know the victim, Michael. Michael could be found just about every day of the week and any point in time during the day smoking a cigarette outside of Trax bar with his dog in a pouch wrapped around Michael like an appendage. He may be nice, but he's also a bit creepy and has made lude remarks to me in the past. and I just want to dropkick that fucking dog. He did not deserve to be shot at all, and what happened was really screwed up. Also for the record there is no evidence to corroborate claims that Sam kicked the dudes dog. How would that even be possible? He is always holding that damn dog.

Sam is truly one of the warmest, kindest, kindred souls on Haight Street. He, Mike, Mama and Fred are caretakers of the community. They give away free food to asshole junkies and take care of people who need help. They have clipboards that hold together bottomless piles of tabs that the street punks and hippies tally up over the decades that New Lite has been in business.

While Michael lived the life of a chain-smoking alcoholic who has probably never worked a day in his life, Sam was slaving 14+ hour days stocking New Lite market with beer that ends up getting pissed out onto the neighborhood sidewalks. He was serving the community, selflessly. Anyone who has been into the market knows who Sam is, and would agree with me. It has also come to my attention that Sam is schizophrenic. Most people would claim disability from the government and hit the bar, but not Sam. Sam was too busy helping his brothers and sister out at the market ringing up customers until as late as 2am.

njudah, you shouldn't chime in if you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

nimby, your heart is in the right place and you have some good ideas, but when you say "the shooter" it's obvious that you don't even know who Sam is. that definitely surprises me considering that you've lived in the hood for 22 years.

jim
jim

what are u the stores mom? ur full of it u people in the haight think ur intitled to xtra everything police protection and yet u all sell items that support illeagal drug use ur a hippocate kick the dog yourself wtf i suppose u want to beat child too do' what's amatter with u seek help' i know sam and he's a loaded weapon i used to work rite across the street a few yrs back like i said who r u his mom?

Lulu
Lulu

Also, the guy that you are thinking of is not the person who got shot. Michael is my friend. He is an older, heavy set hippy that wears lots of tye die, not the creepy skinny gay drunk guy in front of trax-- I know him too. Respectfully, I'd like to inform you that the picture you have in your head of the "guy with the dog" is the wrong person.

jim
jim

your absolutly correct and all this charter assanation all the while the man who cant defend hisself is once again being assaulted by freds new life market while he fights for his life in the hospital. new life market even say they were sorry no they laugh it off and tell lies about a cutomer mikes been around for years no problem now all the sudden he's everything wrong in the haight bulls@#t newlife sucks big time

Joemike
Joemike

I THINK YOU DON.T HAVE NOTING BUTCRITSISE FRED DID YOU ASK HIM AND HE TURN DAWN

samsclub
samsclub

You should actually to General once and visit your friend, jim.Then post some facts about his condition.

Lulu
Lulu

Michael is not a chain smoking alcoholic either, although the trax guy who is still fine and un-shot-up is. Michael is a genuinly good man, transient but never asks for anything. He rescued his dog from an abusive home, which is why his little dog looks like it is winking all the time. Of course he's protective. Again--with all due respect, you are DEFINITELY thinking of the wrong person.

samsclub
samsclub

That 'genuinely good man' threatened to kill Sam, was thrown out of the store, punched and cracked the front window of the store, then came back into the store and told Sam that he was going to kill him. He's genuinely good, except when he's bad.

njudah
njudah

I don't give a fuck, because Upper Haight sucks anyway, and I don't waste my time or money in such a squalid, shitty neighborhood. I live in a decent neighborhood full of good people, no shootings, and clean streets. Enjoy your "neighborhood" and who gives a fuck.

samsclub
samsclub

Your points regarding Sam are correct.

It seems, though, that you've mistaken the dog owner that was shot with another individual.The creepy person with the dog in a pouch, that hangs out in front of Trax, smoking, when not inside Trax, drinking, is not named Michael nor Mike.The character that was shot was more liable to be found around the corner from Fred's, on Masonic, hanging with the crew that piss and shit all over the street.Essentially, another (creepy) alcoholic, also prone to mouthing off when drunk (as well as when not drunk); hardly "nice", hardly "respectable", hardly "caring".

The person that was shot wasn't just walking away. They were yelling at Sam, threating to kill him, yelling that they were going to wait outside the store until Sam came out; 'I'm kick your fucking ass' and 'I'll fucking kill you'.Obviously, Sam felt threatened, and responded inappropriately.

Hopefully, Sam will serve no time, and hopefully Mike will completely recover and not suffer any lingering effects from the shooting.And hopefully, Mike will finally get his shit together and actually be "nice" and "caring".

jim
jim

you are a liar plain and simple mike works in the park everyday and he doesnt drink he doesnt hang out with the drunks u can find him every damm day plaiin cards or working with park and rec your hatred is pointed at the wrong person it should be pointing at the mirror samsclub in fact exploits the homeless giving them credit so they can buy booze is a differnt issue than shootin customers and sam knows mike from when mike was a security guard at mcdonalds and after mike worked at cala foods know what your talkin about or are u sams relative

NIMBY
NIMBY

For the record, Mike isn't homeless and he is a really nice, respectable, caring guy.I have lived in the Upper Haight for 22 years and have known him as a friendly neighbor for many of those years.If someone had kicked (or even nudged) my dog, I would be angry too.

There is no justification for this shooting and nice man or not, the shooter needs to be held responsible for at the very least, ALL of Mike's hospital bills and should not be allowed to run a business in this neighborhood ever again.

Odenmcoy
Odenmcoy

i known mike for 23yrs and couldnt believe the crap freds was sayin about him he is a very peacefull man that doesnt hang out around the corner everyday and drink like fred implies i see him everyday watering in ggp so how can he be in 2 places at once? .freds is lying to covr his a$$ i for one will never step foot in that store truth b known freds contibutes to the hanging out 1st one open last one closed and exploites the homeless who hang around that store of which mike is not one

Joemike
Joemike

I think you don.t know shit about the corner go f your self

youresilly
youresilly

Are you insinuating that Fred's New Lite Market should be closed down? Sam didn't "run" the business; you're obviously fucking clueless about his role in the community.

jim
jim

FREDS NEW LIFE READ THE SIGN STUPID

samsclub
samsclub

Wow. Incredible.

The name of the store *is* Fred's New Lite Market.As you yelled, READ THE SIGN STUPID!!!

imgs dot sfgate dot com/c/pictures/2011/02/10/ba-Fred_s_Market_0502958431 dot jpg

elizabethinsf
elizabethinsf

Sorry, but there is no justifiable homicide here. There was no "present ability" when the vic was walking away outside, having made no move to harm the shooter. And face it, when you shoot someone in the back, YOU ARE THE PERP. Simply insane. Look, is it OK if I shoot every man who threatens me and is walking away? I mean, come on now, since it's very real that the man could be a rapist, why not? So, t hose of you who think well, the dude was homeless, he must have deserved getting shot in the back . .then women are completely justified in shooting any male who looks at us "wrong"

jim
jim

its not a homcide'aside from that ur rite itsw just funny how the bussiness owner lies to the press this guy doesnt hang out he works everyday as a volunteer and is not a street drunk or homeless(not that it even matters} hell he's disabled old fat hardly a threat and used to be a securrty at cala foods and mcdonalds. he's got his own money vehicle and doesnt drink freds is just tryin to discredit this man unjustly BOYCOTT FREDS i know iam if it happened to him it could happen to u

njudah
njudah

Another reason why I no longer go to Upper Haight. The guy kicked a Chihuahua and shot the owner. There's no rational reason for that. WTF?

Adam
Adam

apparently you didn't even read this story. because if you did, it's time to brush up on your reading comprehension skills, since you clearly didn't understand what you read.

njudah
njudah

oh wow, you're so f*cking clever, what a witty comment, I've learned so much from a person on the Internets, you're so brave and smart, why are you wasting your time on a blog when you should be out solving crimes, saving the world, and bringing peace on earth?

Also, wtf do you care what I think? If you don't like the comment, then just ignore it. I don't give a shit if I "understand" it the way you demand I should, in goose-step with your "view," why the f*ck should you even give a damn what I think?

As far as I'm concerned this whole situation proves once again that Upper Haight is a dive, and I'm glad I don't waste my time there. At least no one is either acting like a douche or getting shot where I live. Sorry if I made you upset.

jim
jim

the whole citys turn into turd world country' upper haight is the classiest LOL

Adam
Adam

your reply, while strong on unfounded aggression, still wholly misses my point that your original comment reflects a total lack of understanding of the short news story you read. good job getting really defensive, but still failing to understand.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

"I mean he was such a nice guy, aside from all the murdering."

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