A father’s late return with his daughter after an outing to look at Christmas lights prompted his fatal shooting last month by the girl’s stepfather, court documents state.
Mohammed Khaled Awde told Fort Worth police that he confronted his stepdaughter’s father, Kevin Nguyen, on Dec. 22 about bringing the 7-year-old girl home past her curfew when Nguyen pointed his finger in Awde’s face.
“Mohammed said that he felt threatened so he told Kevin, ‘If you don’t stop pointing your finger in my face, I will shoot you,’ ” homicide Detective E.C. Pate wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit obtained Monday by the Star-Telegram.
“Shoot me,” Nguyen responded, according to Awde.
“Mohammed said that he pulled his gun from his pocket and shot him until he wasn’t standing anymore,” the affidavit states.
Awde, 26, has been charged with murder in the case. He was released from the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday after defense attorneys successfully petitioned to have his bail reduced from $250,000 to $50,000.
Bail conditions required Awde to surrender his passport, wear an ankle monitor and not travel outside Tarrant and Johnson counties. He was also required to surrender his concealed handgun license and must abide by Child Protective Service rules that he have no unsupervised contact with his stepdaughter, according to court records.
Awde declined to comment when reached by telephone Monday. His defense attorneys did not return a message seeking comment.
Home for Christmas
Friends say Nguyen, 27, was a devoted father with a strong work ethic and planned to become a pharmacist.
“He worked harder than anybody I’ve ever met,” said Kym Smith, who worked with Nguyen at Cutting Corners, a fabric outlet store that her mother, Karen, manages. “I don’t think as long as I’ve worked there we’ve ever had another employee like him. We’re all just devastated. The task that would have taken anyone else three hours to do, Kevin could do in 30 minutes.”
Karen Smith said Nguyen began working at the store not long after graduating from high school in 2005.
“He worked for Cutting Corners more hours than anyone at the store but me last year,” Karen Smith said.
Nguyen also held down a second job as a pharmacy tech at a Walgreen’s.
“He knew he wanted to be a pharmacist and that’s what he worked for,” said Karen Smith. “He worked so hard. He was so smart. You only had to tell him something one time. He always stayed a step ahead of me.”
In August, Nguyen left Fort Worth to begin pharmacy school in Maine.
“He was going to do great things wherever he went,” Karen Smith said. “He had so much to offer.”
With his first semester completed, Nguyen had returned to Fort Worth to spend Christmas break with his parents, his daughter, and work at Cutting Corners and Walgreen’s.
He had just gotten off work at Walgreen’s on Dec. 22 before taking his daughter, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s two children to see the Christmas lights in Dallas, friends say.
“He didn’t get to see her [his daughter] much because he was in school,” Kim Smith said. “He was finally back, getting to spend some time with her. It breaks my heart.”
A late return
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Nguyen was supposed to return his daughter to her mother and stepfather’s house in the 3800 block of Fox Run Drive by 8 p.m.
“Mohammed learned that Kevin was going to be late bringing [the girl] home and tried to call Kevin several times but the phone kept going to voice mail, as if the phone was turned off,” Pate, the homicide detective, wrote in his affidavit.
Karen Smith said Nguyen’s mother had reportedly informed the girl’s family that her son wanted to stay out later with his daughter that night. She received no objections, according to Smith.
But Awde, who Tarrant County marriage records indicate had married the girl’s mother in August, was apparently unhappy.
After arriving home from work about 7:45 p.m., Awde went into the home’s garage to smoke and wait for Nguyen to return with the girl so that he could speak with him, the affidavit states.
Around 10 p.m., Nguyen pulled up to drop off his daughter. Awde approached the car, telling Nguyen he wanted to speak with him about not respecting the girl’s curfew.
“Mohammed said that Kevin was standing with him arms folded by his car and pointed his finger in Mohammed’s face,” the affidavit states.
Friends say the girl apparently went inside the home before the shooting, but Nguyen’s girlfriend and her two young children were inside Nguyen’s vehicle.
Dead at scene
When police arrived at the scene, Awde told officers that he had shot Nguyen because the man had threatened him by putting his finger in Awde’s face, causing Awde to fear for his life, according to the affidavit.
Nguyen was pronounced dead in the street.
When later questioned by Pate, Awde acknowledged that, besides pointing his finger, Nguyen never made any threats toward Awde, nor displayed or indicated that he had a weapon. Nor, Awde told police, had Nguyen ever assaulted or threatened him in the past, the affidavit states.
“Based on your training you received when applying for your license to carry a concealed firearm, do you believe that you were justified in shooting Kevin?” Pate asked Awde.
Awde paused, according to the affidavit, then replied, “I don’t know.”