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Shop owner: shoot-out reminded him of being in Iraq

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The owner of an alterations shop where a police chase ended with a crash and a shoot-out says he still can’t believe he got away unhurt.

Thaer Mahdi, speaking with the help of his son, Bassam Hassan, acting as translator, told KSL 5 TV the situation reminded him of being back in Iraq.

“I just heard all the noises and explosions,” he said. “Everything was getting thrown at me.”

Police, pursuing a man later identified as Harold Robinson, pit-maneuvered his truck, which crashed into the front of Mahdi’s Princess Alterations and Leather Work, leaving the shop owner, who came to the US from Iraq in 2009, just feet from a shoot-out.

“Around me was just the sewing machines. And I just froze in my place, just shaking,” Mahdi said through Hassan.

His son interjected: “He still can’t believe that he got away from all of that.”

Mahdi does not yet know how much damage was done to his shop. He told KSL’s Andrew Adams he’s been hearing from customers who want to know what the status of their orders is, but as of last night, hours after the shoot-out, he still had not yet been allowed back into his shop.

He added, he was grateful the officers did not think he was somehow involved and shoot him during the gunfight.