Owner of Plaza Midwood restaurant chooses compassion after violent armed robbery

Police still searching for the suspect

Owner of Plaza Midwood restaurant chooses compassion after violent armed robbery

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are searching for the person who committed an armed robbery at a popular Plaza Midwood restaurant.

The owner of Pure Pizza on Central Avenue says on Friday, as they were opening, someone ran in with a gun and demanded a money.

“Someone ran through the front door, box jumped over the counter, and within about two seconds, had a gun barrel to his chest. He then was demanding to know where we keep the money,” said owner Juli Ghazi.

The suspect pointed a gun at three of Ghazi’s managers before taking some cash and running off.

Surveillance video shows armed robbery at Plaza Midwood restaurant

“They are not doing OK, they are not,” said Ghazi. “We have never felt a sense of being unsafe. We know this neighborhood has a lot of incidents, but it was a sense of violation because this is a sacred place for a lot of us."

The suspect was last seen running down Central Avenue.

None of the employees were injured, but Ghazi says all are dealing with the emotional trauma.

However, Ghazi says after this, she faced a choice.

“I can either choose to be angry, I can want revenge, I can want to seek justice, but what is that going to do me now?,” said Ghazi. “I am choosing to be loving instead of being angry. I mean this is where you are called to do it, right?”

Ghazi shared that she herself has gone through personal dark moments and experiences and she says that gives her a different perspective than most.

“I have had the car repossessed several times, I have had the utilities cut off several times, there was no food for us to eat. I know what financial despair looks like,” said Ghazi. “I want to believe that he was a good person that made a bad decision.”

Ghazi says she does not condone what happened but is choosing to try and understand the suspect instead of resorting to hate.

“When the pain is so much, we may do things that we might not normally do,” said Ghazi.

Police and the restaurant’s security system company will come by Monday to review video and try and I.D. the suspect.

“The reality is, even if he is caught, it is a false sense of security. It can happen again," said Ghazi. “The pain that was caused is tremendous and I hope that given the chance, this would not be his same decision."

Ghazi says Pure Pizza has been in business for about seven years and they have been at the Central Avenue location for close to 3 years.

If you have any information, you are asked to call police.

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