Gas Station Owner Charged With Murdering Competitor in Pump Price War

A gas station owner was charged Monday with open murder in last week's shooting death of a rival who confronted him after he lowered his gas prices.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said 51-year-old Hassan Masbouth also was named in a warrant charging him with using a firearm while committing a felony.

Masbouth has been held by police since Friday's shooting outside his Marathon station on Detroit's southwest side.

Jawad Bazzi, 46, was shot at least once in the head during a fight with Masbouth, police said.

The fight started after Masbouth lowered his price of regular gasoline by three cents to $2.93 a gallon. Bazzi and several other men walked across the street from his BP station and confronted Masbouth.

A fight broke out and at some point Bazzi was shot.

The two men had been involved in an ongoing price war, Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement.

"Open murder is the fairest way to proceed," Worthy said. "There is no statutory requirement that mandates us to elect between the charges of (first-degree or second-degree murder). We will leave the ultimate decision to the fact finders when we go to trial in this complex case."

Masbouth was expected to be arraigned Monday afternoon.

The Associated Press left a voice mail seeking comment from his lawyer, Jeffrey Edison.

The open murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The felony firearm charge carries a mandatory penalty of two years in prison.