Taz’s store owner indicted for 2nd-degree murder in downtown Raleigh stabbing death

The downtown Raleigh convenience store owner who was arrested last month for allegedly stabbing a man to death at his store has been indicted on a charge of second-degree murder by a Wake County grand jury.

The indictment of Taiseer “Taz” Zarka, 60, comes after his April 19 arrest in the stabbing death of Mark Garrity Jr., 27, at Taz’s Supermarket One, at the intersection of South Wilmington and West Hargett streets.

Zarka, currently jailed without bail, filed a motion last week in court through his lawyer for a bail bond hearing.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman confirmed the indictment to The News & Observer and said Zarka’s case was presented to a grand jury last week.

Two weeks from stabbing to arrest

For nearly two weeks after Garrity’s death, the Raleigh Police Department made no arrests in the case, angering his family.

Police have not said why there was a delay in an arrest, but previously stated that they were reviewing footage from the store as part of their investigation.

Zarka has no prior convictions; however, a third-party website that lists Wake County arrests and mugshots shows that Zarka was arrested on an assault charge on Aug. 7, 2022, about eight months before he was charged with murder.

The N&O has not been able to confirm the arrest or charge with police and court records.

WRAL reported earlier this month that the assault charge was expunged, and that Zarka had been previously known to the District Attorney’s office.

History of problems at Taz’s store

Taz’s Supermarket One often has people loitering outside of it and has had a problematic history with police for years.

It sits near a busy downtown intersection and is a block away from Moore Square and a GoRaleigh bus terminal.

An N&O request for 911 calls to the store reveals that police have responded to 839 different incidents going back five years from April 13, 2023.

Security checks represent a majority of police incidents at the store, 32% in all. .

Since 2019, police have responded to 32 assaults, 36 suspicious people, 30 alcohol-related incidents and 19 larcenies at the store’s address.

There have been two stabbings reported at the store — including the April 6 incident that resulted in Zarka’s murder charge.

Other incidents involving fights and drug law violence have been reported, the incident history shows.

Stabbing at Taz’s store

Taz’s store employees and witnesses said an argument broke out at around 3:41 p.m. April 6 after Zarka accused Garrity of stealing.

Police have not provided details about the weapon used, who it belonged to or what led to the altercation.

Garrity was found by police with serious stab wounds and was taken to a hospital.

Garrity grew up in Wake Forest and went to Heritage High School, according to his family and friends.