Los Angeles

Cellphone Salesman Arrested After Flashing Gun at Customer Wanting Refund

A cellphone shopkeeper faces a potential charge of assault with a deadly weapon Monday stemming from an encounter at his shop with a customer and her companions after she requested a refund, South Gate police said.

One of the group recorded cellphone video showing the shopkeeper in the doorway with a handgun. He motions with it, and can be heard to say, "Get the f___ out of here, I said."

South Gate police responded Friday morning to the Metro-PCS shop on Paramount Boulevard at Alhambra Avenue. Officers saw the video, and conducted interviews, said Det. Sgt. Ismael Ververa.

"Based on the circumstances of the case, officers felt there was a threat," Ververa said.

The shopkeeper, Basel Mohammad Farha, told police that during the encounter, he was called a "terrorist," and feeling threatened himself, got out the gun for his own protection.

Farha was arrested and booked on suspicion of brandishing a weapon, making threats, and assault with a deadly weapon. He later was released after posting bail of $200,000, but could not be reached for comment.

The eight-second video was posted on YouTube under the name Johana Velasquez. One of the people who posted said she wanted a refund for an iPhone she had purchased under the impression it was new, but when she turned it on, discovered it already had pictures, notes, contacts, apps, evidence of prior use.

"Los Angeles comedian, almost shot by Metro-PCS storeowner," read the headline on the YouTube post.

Comic Pat Gallegos, who plays LA area clubs, told NBC4 he was among the group of three that accompanied his cousin to get the refund, and is visible from behind in the video on the far right, holding the paperwork.

Gallegos said the group was looking into a civil suit, and declined to discuss the incident further.

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