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District Attorney Stephen Zappala Disagrees Gas Station Owners And Employee Should Face Tougher Charges

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Video of the incident at the Exxon gas station in Marshall Shadeland went viral over the weekend.

The women in the video told police after gas spilled at a pump, they wanted a refund from the store. The video shows a verbal confrontation with the women and two of the store's owners and an employee escalating to a physical altercation.

"Open-handed hits to the back of the head repeatedly, but with aggravated assault, you need a weapon, you need bodily injury, you need somebody who gets hurt," said Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

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The store owners and an employee face charges of simple assault and conspiracy.

Protestors say that's not enough, they should face more severe charges.

District Attorney Zappala disagrees.

"The evidence, based on what I saw, doesn't support aggravated assault," Zappala told reporters Wednesday morning. "Aggravated assault, there's a much higher standard and it's almost the equivalent of third-degree murder. The police interviewed the ladies that were involved and they said, basically, 'we're fine.'"

Zappala says ultimately a jury will decide.

"There's a distinction between the prosecutor, the judge and the jury. ultimately a jury is going to make a determination of whether or not this was, in fact, a crime," he said.

Meanwhile, the district attorney says his office would like to speak to the person who recorded the cell phone video.

"They downloaded that from social media," he said, "so if we find that person, and they can provide us more evidence than that, of course, we'd take a look at it again."

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