It's a tale of two bodegas in Brooklyn, both marred by violence a year apart that hurt the same immigrant family.
The common thread is a Brownsville deli owner, speaking out for the first time, who claimed self-defense when he bashed a teen in the head with a hammer last year in his store.
Salah Ahmed said he believed he would be cleared by security video that appears to show that several teens started the April 2008 melee inside the store by first attacking his nephew, who was working behind the counter. Ahmed, 36, grabbed a hammer and broke up the fight, fracturing the skull of one teen.
Charged with first degree assault, Ahmed faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted at his trial later this month.
"I didn't came to this country so i could be a super hero or like Rambo, no. i came here to support my family," said Ahmed, who says he has five children and a wife back in Yemen.
His immigrant dream died again just last month when robbers killed his wife's relatives, a father and son, also from Yemen, also working in a Brooklyn deli.
"I can't even move, I mean I got scared, I was thinking what happened to him," said Ahmed.
Ahmed considered murder victim Mohammed Abuzaid, 50, like a father. He had worked for the older man in the mid 90s at a red hook deli, where he says teens sliced his face with a box cutter.
"So, one day about three kids they pass through, they went inside the store, they don't buy nothing, they're just walking, so by the time they step outside, they slice me, in my face," said Ahmed.
Police have arrested an ex-convict in the march 25th slayings of Abuzaid and his 18-year-old son Abdul in the Utica Avenue bodega in Crown Heights and are looking for a second suspect.
Ahmed says all this violence convinces him he was right to swing that hammer.
"If i didn't came out maybe it was same way, he was going to kill my nephew," he said.
His defense attorney, Gary Conroy, said it was unfair to indict Ahmed, maintaining that the videotape supports his self defense claims.
"He was trying to save his nephew, his nephew is calling out, they're going to kill him," said Conroy who said Ahmed has never before been in trouble with the law.
Authorities say Ahmed was charged with assault because use of the hammer was excessive, the blow critically injuring the teen. Officials say that teen has since returned to school. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. Another teen seen on the videotape had been charged with assault in a sealed case handled in family court, law enforcement sources said.
In preparing for his defense, Ahmed said he is clinging to hope that the jury will see things his way.
"That's what I be praying, so it could be good future," he said. "That's what I need, good future, and safe future."