Riverview liquor store worker accused of setting teen on fire charged

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Riverview — A convenience store clerk accused of lighting a 17-year-old customer's backpack on fire last week is scheduled to be in court Thursday.

Mazin Nowail Shaya, 55, was charged Wednesday in 27th District Court with assault with intent to commit murder, a life felony, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm-less than murder, a 10-year felony, according to Riverview police.


A judge set his bond at $1 million and required he wear a GPS tether, remain under house arrest, and surrender his passport if he is released. The judge also scheduled a probable cause conference in his case for Thursday.

Police said officers were called at about 1:30 p.m. June 2 to the emergency room of Wyandotte Hospital.

They spoke to the caller who told them that her son, a 17-year-old who attends Riverview Community High School student, was badly burned while at Victor’s Market on Quarry Road near Pennsylvania Road. She said her son was in the middle of being transferred to Children’s Hospital in Detroit to be treated.

She said her son was on his lunch break between 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. when he was at the store and injured.

Detectives began an investigation and located a witness who told them the teen was wearing a backpack soaked with lighter fluid. It appeared the fluid was leaking from inside the backpack.

The witness said one of the store's employees — identified as Shaya — wanted to see if the fluid was flammable. Shaya allegedly held a lighter near the teen and activated it, igniting the victim's shirt.

Detectives executed an arrest warrant for Shaya on Tuesday in Sterling Heights and took him into custody without incident.

"This incident was a tragedy and could have easily been avoided," interim Riverview Police Chief Bob Bemis said in a statement. "Now it’s the court’s job to decide who is responsible and what their punishment should be."


Twitter: @CharlesERamirez