Mirza Gogic knew Joseph Fox was his brother’s killer Wednesday as soon as he saw him walk.
“He walked into the lineup just as cool and calm as he did right after he killed my brother,” said Mirza Gogic, 23, just hours after he identified Fox, also 23, as the man who killed his 19-year-old brother Haris Gogic and robbed his family’s convenience store of about $30 on the city’s south side Friday.
Mirza Gogic’s eyes then met Fox’s.
“I knew it was him, even though he shaved his mustasche,” Gogic said, lying in his bed, his right arm bandaged and throbbing from a gunshot wound he suffered during the attack. “My whole body was shaking.”
Prosecutors then charged Fox of the 9600 block of Norlakes Drive with murder, assault, robbery, burglary and three counts of armed criminal action. He is being held without bond.
Mirza Gogic said he felt better knowing Fox wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone else.
“But I’m still numb from this whole thing,” he said, adding that he is unsure whether he’ll need surgery, and has no medical insurance to afford it if he does. “We were self-employed.”
The Gogic brothers immigrated with their parents from Bosnia to St. Louis in 2001 after having survived four years of war in their country, Mirza Gogic said.
They bought the house at the corner of Chippewa Street and Alfred Avenue about a year later. About one year ago, the brothers turned the front of the home into the Quick Stop convenience and wireless store.
“Our ultimate plan was to make it as successful as we could, but you’ve got to start small,” Mirza Gogic said of the store, barely bigger than a typical college dorm room.
Mirza Gogic was good with fixing cell phones, family members said.
Haris Gogic graduated from Bayless High School and had just taken a semester off from Forest Park Community College to figure out what he wanted to do in his life. He had recently set his sights on becoming a pilot and living in California, Mirza Gogic said.
“He just wanted to fly,” Mirza Gogic said.
On Friday, Mirza Gogic’s girlfriend, Zinaida Dautovic, 21, said she was helping other customers in the store when Fox walked in the first time. He looked over the cellphones in a display case and left.
She said he came back again, complimented the inventory and said he’d bring his girlfriend back to buy a phone.
Instead, he came back a third time, closed the door behind him, pulled out a gun, put her in a choke hold, and ordered her to, “Shut up (expletive).”
She didn’t. Her screams woke the Gogic brothers, who were sleeping on the other side of the wall. Mirza Gogic said he ran in first. Haris Gogic grabbed a baseball bat on his way in, his brother said.
“Stop or I’ll kill her,” Mirza Gogic recalled Fox telling him. “Then my brother came in and he turned the gun at him and shot him, just like that. I asked him what he wanted and that’s when he shot me.”
The bullet sliced through his upper right arm, splitting the bone in half. Bruises and scrapes peeked from below a brace stabilizing his arm Wednesday.
Dautovic opened the register for him. He helped himself.
“It was all ones,” Mirza Gogic said.
And then Mirza Gogic watched Fox walk out.
Dautovic called 911. Haris Gogic died from a gunshot to the head at the hospital later that day.
Police released surveillance images of Fox just hours after the robbery, and tips started coming in from the community.
According to court and prison records, Fox pleaded guilty in July 2007 to unlawful use of a weapon. He was sentenced to four years of probation instead of prison time, and a clean record upon successful completion of that probation.
But, in December 2007, Fox was charged with second-degree robbery, to which he pleaded guilty in August 2008. His probation was revoked in November 2008 and he was released from prison on put on probation in March 2009.
He pleaded guilty in December 2009 to another charge of unlawful possession of a firearm and was sentenced to seven years, but was released on parole in February 2012.
Mirza Gogic said no one had ever seen Fox before he walked into their store Friday — a place where regulars from the neighborhood said they often benefited from the family’s hospitality.
The store will not be reopening. And the family will be moving, Mirza Gogic said.
“We cannot stay here,” Mirza Gogic said. “Not after what happened here.”
The Gogics have had family fly in from all over the world to grieve with them. Several embraced him after came home from the lineup Wednesday.
He was still shaking, after having just walked Fox walk out of the lineup room.
SOURCE: St. Louis Post Dispatch
PDF:[wpfilebase tag=file id=440 /]