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Teen sentenced to 30 years in prison for fatally shooting gas station owner

Damu Bridgewater, 18, accepts plea deal in 2011 Miami Gardens shooting

MIAMI – A man who was just 15 years old when he fatally shot a Miami Gardens gas station owner in 2011 was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison.

Damu Bridgewater, now 18, shot Shahid Mahmood, 58, as Mahmood sat in his SUV outside the Amerika Food Mart at the corner of Northwest 22nd Avenue and 158th Street.

Police said Mahmood had just finished working about 1 a.m. Aug. 11, 2011 and was about to go home. Police said Bridgewater pulled up in another vehicle, got out and shot Mahmood several times.

A clerk on duty inside the store ran outside to find Mahmood had been shot in the chest.

Bridgewater was charged with first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and dealing in stolen property. He accepted a plea deal Wednesday.

"The homicide case was a very, very difficult case," defense attorney Rene Palomino told Local 10 News. "The evidence was overwhelming, and we did not want to put him in a position where he was going to end up getting a life sentence, as we have seen happen to many juveniles who have committed homicides here in (Miami-)Dade County in the past several months."

Bridgewater must serve a mandatory 25 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

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