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Shakopee Clerk Charged After Selling Beer to Drunk Man Who Died in Snow

A Top Star Market clerk sold an intoxicated man a six-pack of beer while a teenage relative filmed it with his cell phone camera.

A clerk at Shakopee's Top Star Market at 615 S. Marschall Road has been charged with selling alcohol to an intoxicated person after his customer showed up dead in a snowbank behind the store.

The clerk's 15-year-old relative filmed the Dec. 11 exchange with his cell phone camera as the customer, Thomas Laurie, 52, stumbled, dropped his money and fell down on the counter before leaving with a six-pack of beer, according to a Star Tribune report.

"This person needed help that night," Shakopee Police Chief Jeffrey Tate told the newspaper. "If they hadn't allowed him to buy alcohol, there would be no charge. Would he have died? I don't know. Certainly if they had called us and he'd been detoxed, I think it's safe to assume he would be with us today."

The clerk, Ghaleb Saadalla Awawda, 27, will make his first court appearance on Feb. 1. His teenage relative is also being charged with intentional liability for crimes of another and a gross-misdemeanor liquor violation.

The Star Tribune spoke with Laurie's daughter about her father's life:

According to his daughter, Samantha Lawrie, 21, Lawrie had struggled with mental health problems and addiction since he was 15. He'd never been able to hold a job and had been in and out of treatment centers and hospitals.

But his daughter says she loved him and, to her, he was no joke.

"The only thing I have left of him is a box of legal documents," Samantha Lawrie said. She didn't know about the charges against the store clerk or the teenager until a reporter told her last week.

"Some sort of justice would be amazing," she said.

Tom Lawrie was a loving father, his daughter said. They would go on outings to apple orchards and the Renaissance Festival when she was a little girl. But he always ended up choosing alcohol over her, she said.

"My life goal for the longest time was to make him better," she said. "That was my life."

Samantha Lawrie last saw her father on his birthday, Nov. 17. He'd run out of food and she went grocery shopping for him. He lived in a subsidized apartment and was a ward of the state when he died, she said.

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