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7-Eleven melee downtown results in no student charges

Prosecutors have declined to file charges against any of the youths who police said were part of two mobs that stole candy and assaulted the owner of a downtown Baltimore convenience store during a free Slurpee promotion last month.

The decision, announced by a spokesman for the city state's attorney's office, comes despite video from two surveillance cameras — one inside the 7-Eleven, another outside — that police said at the time "shows exactly what the kids did."

Mark Cheshire, the spokesman for State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, said, "We have reviewed all the evidence that the police gathered in their investigation, including the video footage, and have determined that criminal charges are not appropriate."

He added, "It is apparent that multiple people, including both juveniles and adults, were involved in a chaotic situation. But not every conflict warrants criminal charges." Cheshire said there is "insufficient evidence" to prove youths shoplifted candy from the shelves.

Salman Iqbal, 32, the owner of the 7-Eleven on Light Street, a few blocks north of the Inner Harbor, could not be reached for comment Friday morning. A spokeswoman for the convenience store chain did not respond to inquiries.

The attack at the store came amid a debate over downtown crime and safety, and after reports were published detailing a disturbance onSt. Patrick's Dayin which hundreds of youths fought for hours on streets near the harbor.

Police said 35 to 40 youths converged on the 7-Eleven on May 23, about 11:30 a.m., to get free Slurpees. As workers served them, police said a second group of youths came in and started to take candy from the shelves.

A police report says the owner tried to stop the suspected thieves from leaving but they got out before he blocked the door. Police said that prevented the first group of youths, who had gotten their free drinks, from leaving.

They became angry and pushed their way past Iqbal, who reported being hit in the arms and neck, and punched once in the mouth. Police said in May that surveillance video shows the attack and the punch, and that the youths were identified by their uniforms as being students from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical Senior High School in Northeast Baltimore.

During the fracas, Iqbal reported to police, an envelope containing $6,600 of the store's money disappeared from his pocket. But police said the video did not show any youth reaching into his pocket.

It's unclear whether the money is still missing.

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