Family, community react to news of suspect in 2015 murder at Akron pizza shop

AKRON, Ohio - It is a crime that devastated a family, stunned a community and shocked students at a local university. Thursday, Akron police are expected to give more details about a suspect they believe killed 21-year old Zachareia Husein while robbing his family's pizza shop.

Police will only say that they have identified a suspect, who is already behind bars, serving time on unrelated charges.

"It's the best phone call I've given my mother since the day of my wedding...justice for more than just my family, this is justice for every citizen in Akron," said Ammar Husein, Zak's older brother.

Ammar Husein finally received the news he thought he would never hear.

"Honestly, I anticipated and had emotionally prepared myself to never have a resolution, never to have justice, so it's kind of like I got something I wasn't looking for in a way," Husein said.

December 7, 2015, Zak was behind the counter at his family's pizza shop, Premium New York Style Pizza on East Glenwood Avenue in Akron. Just before closing, someone wearing all black, with their face covered, storms into the shop pointing a gun. Police say the person pulled the trigger, killing Zak, even after he handed over money from the register.

His older brother, who was in the store at the time, says knowing a suspect is behind bars is a relief.

"Peace of mind that not everybody can relate to...maybe I don't have to carry a gun all the time anymore, I don't know...it's phenomenal," Husein said.

"When Zak was first killed, what I saw at the university, people were shocked and a kind of helpless reaction from his friends, from faculty, colleagues," said Dr. Douglas Hausknecht, associate professor at University of Akron.

Zak was a student at the University of Akron, studying international business. Months after he was killed, his college community put together an annual charity event in his memory.

"We pack meals that get shipped around the world to feed hungry people, in the last two years, we packed nearly 100-thousand meals," said Dr. Hausknecht.

Hausknecht says he hopes once the murder case is solved, the event will be even more uplifting than it already is.

"Now that there's a step forward in the case, people will feel that much more relieved that they're part of the positive outcome," he said.

Akron police say the suspect has not yet been charged. They expect to file charges on Thursday, and then release more details at a morning news conference.

More on this story, here.