Who Was Benjamin Ariel Harouni? Jewish Dentist Shot Dead by 'Disgruntled' Former Patient at San Diego Practice in Pre-Planned Attack

Harouni had said that becoming a dentist was his lifelong passion and he took pride in offering all his patients "honest and quality dental care," as indicated on his website.

A dentist in California was shot dead at his office on Thursday by a "disgruntled" former patient who had planned the killing weeks in advance, as stated by the police. Mohammed Abdulkareem, 29, reportedly entered Smile Plus Dentistry & Orthodontics wearing all-black attire at 4:15 p.m. and opened fire, injuring two adult men and one adult woman.

First responders arrived within minutes, but one of the men had already died by that time. The victim was identified as Dr. Benjamin Ariel Harouni, 28, who was the target of Abdulkareem. The gunman then fled the scene by escaping in a U-Haul pick-up with Arizona license plates, El Cajon Police Department confirmed.

Planned Killing of Jewish Doctor

Benjamin Ariel
Benjamin Ariel Harouni X

Harouni, a licensed dentist, was employed at the dental practice that he co-managed with his father, Jack. Despite medical efforts at the clinic to rescue Harouni, he succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds on the sidewalk outside the Smile Plus dental office, just before 5 pm on Thursday.

The others were rushed to the hospital in serious but stable condition. One of the injured was identified as receptionist Yareli Carrillo, 28.

Mohammed Abdulkareem
Mohammed Abdulkareem X

Jack and Benjamin, the father and son, are described as beloved members of the Jewish-Persian community in the region.

The shocking incident prompted a search for the U-Haul and Abdulkareem, with authorities describing him as "armed and dangerous" in an alert cautioning the public about an ongoing threat from an active shooter.

Abdulkareem was finally arrested on Thursday, around five hours after the shooting, about 20 miles away from the crime scene. He was found with a loaded handgun and several loaded handgun magazines during his arrest.

Benjamin Ariel
Benjamin Ariel Harouni X

Police revealed on Friday that Abdulkareem had legally purchased the gun used in the attack just two weeks ago. The exact motive behind the shooting remains unclear.

Community's Loss

Harouni earned his undergraduate degrees at the University of Southern California before pursuing his education at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, where he obtained his Doctorate of Dental Surgery.

Benjamin Ariel Harouni
Benjamin Ariel Harouni with his father Jack X

Harouni had said that becoming a dentist was his lifelong passion and he took pride in offering all his patients "honest and quality dental care," as indicated on his website.

Captain Rob Ransweiler said that Abdulkareem was known to the individuals inside the dental office.

"There were a lot of family members on scene," he said. "Most of the people who were involved, they have information as to who was involved."

Authorities suspect that Abdulkareem, a resident of El Cajon, rented a white U-Haul pickup with an Arizona license plate just an hour before the shooting.

He reportedly used this vehicle to escape the scene after carrying out the shooting.

"A vigilant citizen alerted the San Diego Police Department that they believed the U-Haul truck involved in the shooting was parked near 6thAvenue and Quince Street in San Diego," police said in a statement about Abdulkareem's arrest.

Harouni had celebrated his birthday only nine days prior to his tragic death, as mentioned in a social media post.