x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

‘Sheer luck I survived’ says Deira man shot in botched robbery

A 21-year-old hardware store worker is in hospital after being shot in the chest during an attempted robbery.

DUBAI // A 21-year-old man who was shot in the chest during a botched armed robbery at his father’s hardware shop said yesterday that it was “sheer luck” he was still alive.

Hussain Fakhruddin was shot while he was working at Al Rizq Al Halal Trading Company, in the Al Naif area of Deira on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s sheer luck I survived,” Mr Fakhruddin said from his bed in Rashid Hospital. “The bullet passed straight through my chest. I thought I would die. I am thankful to God that He saved my life.”

It was earlier in the day when Mr Fakhruddin sent one the store’s salesman to a nearby bank to withdraw Dh150,000. “The men were following my salesman from the bank, but it seems they did not get an opportunity to steal the money from him.”

The three robbers were seen on CCTV cameras in the bank as well as at a hotel where his salesman stopped briefly before returning to the store.

“They followed my salesman on foot all the way from bank to the shop. They were waiting for an opportunity to mug him but they could not do it. As soon as my salesman handed over the money to me, I put it in a safe place.”

It was some time after 1pm when one of the men entered the shop pretending to be interested in buying tools.

“Two were stood outside while a third man entered the shop and asked me to show him some tools.

“I could recognise their faces easily [if I saw them again]: they were about 25 years of age and were speaking Persian.”

Mr Fakhruddin said he was immediately suspicious of the man pretending to be a customer. “The way he talked and behaved created some doubts in my mind about the sincerity of the man in buying things from me. He never looked like a genuine person.”

After showing the robber several options, Mr Fakhruddin sent the only other salesman in the shop upstairs to find a tool the robber was asking for.

“When I was trying to show him the tools, he pulled out a small pistol and said ‘don’t move’.

“I thought it must be a toy pistol just to scare me, so I tried to resist and he pulled the trigger. The bullet passed straight through my chest and he then ran away with his friends.”

A witness to the aftermath of the shooting, who did not wish to be named, said: “Hussain was lying in a pool of blood. He screamed for help and people rushed to his rescue. It was shocking.”

Another shopkeeper in the area said they had been extra careful since the incident. “We are making sure our cash is kept in a safe place and taking extra precautions while withdrawing money from the bank. The incident was an eye-opener for us.”

The Fakhruddin family – three sisters and only-son Hussain – are from the Gujarat state in India but settled in Pune before some of them moved to Dubai. The hardware shop has been in the family for more than 20 years, but this was the first attempt at a robbery.

Doctors have told Mr Fakhruddin he should be released from the hospital before the weekend. “My right lung was damaged a bit due to the bullet, otherwise I am doing well. I am expecting to be discharged very soon,” he said.