A 20-year-old Triangle man who was fatally shot last month by a Dale City woman in what police determined was a justified act of self-defense has been connected to five recent armed robberies at area 7-Eleven stores, police said Monday.
The man, identified as Azhar Laurent Smart, 20, of Triangle, was found by police suffering a gunshot wound at 12:25 a.m. on Thursday, July 22, outside a home in the 4100 block of Hoffman Drive, a residential area off Prince William Parkway near the Sheetz gas station, according to a news release issued at the time.
Smart was shot by a resident of the home who told police he approached her while she was outside walking her dog. Police later determined that Smart was wearing a face mask and was armed with a handgun when he was shot, according to the police news release.
Smart was transported to a nearby hospital, where he died from his wounds, the release said. The Dale City resident who shot Smart was not identified and was not injured, according to police.
On Monday, Aug. 2, police said a subsequent police investigation into the handgun Smart was carrying determined it matched a firearm that was discharged during a July 16 armed robbery at the 7-Eleven on Dale Boulevard in Woodbridge.
During that robbery, the lone suspect fired a round after taking money from the store. No injuries were reported. The shell casing collected at the scene was compared to the weapon recovered at the July 22 homicide and was determined to be a match, 1st Sgt. Jonathan Perok, Prince William County police spokesman, said in an Aug. 2 news release.
Detectives have been investigating the July 16 robbery in connection to four other robberies that occurred at 7-Eleven stores in Woodbridge and Dumfries since late June involving a suspect with the same description, clothing and behaviors observed in all five incidents, Perok said in the Aug. 2 release.
The other robberies occurred at 7-Eleven stores on Fraley Boulevard in Dumfries on July 5, where a shot was also fired, and locations on Cloverdale Road on July 3, Darbydale Avenue on June 29, and Minnieville Road on June 28, Perok said.
“Detectives became increasingly concerned over the robberies escalating after the suspect was found to have discharged a handgun during the two more recent incidents. Forensic examination of the shell casing recovered on July 5 is ongoing,” Perok said.
At the time of the July 22 homicide, the deceased was wearing clothing that was also observed in the reported robberies, Perok said.
“Following the investigations into this robbery series, all known evidence indicates the deceased was responsible for all five incidents,” Perok said.
Detectives are still looking into why Smart was at that particular house on Hoffman Drive on July 22, Perok said.
Federal law-enforcement officials from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives contributed to the investigation, Perok said.