Neighbors mourn slain Henrico store owner
Jan 29, 2013 (Richmond Times-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Scores of eastern Henrico County residents converged today on a small corner store where longtime owner Farooq M. Bhimdi, 64, was shot to death Monday night.
"He was the soul of the community, a friend to everyone who came by," said Tia Archer. "It is hard to believe anyone would do this."
Bhimdi, who lived in the Wyndham community in western Henrico but worked rugged hours seven days a week along the Mechanicsville Turnpike corridor near Laburnum Ave., was found by a patron shot to death and bleeding around 9:30 p.m., according to the patron's husband.
Area residents said it would have been impossible for a person unknown to the shopkeeper to surprise him.
"He always had a gun beside him and if he didn't recognize you when you came in the door, he would carry it with him," said Clifton Jones Jr.
The Expressway Market in the 3500 block of Mechanicsville Turnpike also had surveillance cameras.
Residents gathered in front of the store throughout the day talking about their regard for Bhimdi, straddling the hand-painted parking lines Bhimdi painted. Many left flowers, stuffed toys and signs, one reading "R.I.P. Mr. Bean." The nickname came from the resemblance Bhimdi had to the British television comedian called Mr. Bean.
"My kids always called him that and one day he comes out and points to his license plate, MR BEEN. 'I got that for you kids,' " Tekoea "KoKo" Savoy recalled Bhimdi saying excitedly.
Henrico Police would not confirm the existence of video footage or whether they located a weapon in the store.
The suspect was described as a black male between 18 and 20 years old, approximately 140 pounds and wearing a brown jacket, Lt. Linda Toney said in a news release.
(This is a breaking news update. Look for more on this story in tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch.)
Posted at 11:05 a.m.
Henrico police are looking for a man suspected in the fatal shooting of a convenience store clerk during an attempted robbery late Monday, a spokeswoman said today.
Police were called to the Expressway convenience store in the 3500 block of Mechanicsville Turnpike, near Laburnum Avenue, about 9:30 p.m., said Lt. Linda Toney. The man was taken to VCU Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.
According to police, the victim was 64-year-old Farooq M. Bhimdi, the owner of the store.
A spokesman for the family said Bhimdi lived in the Wyndham neighborhood in western Henrico. He said the family is in mourning and declined to comment.
Police have declined to release further details about the holdup.
The suspect was described as a black male between 18 and 20 years old, approximately 140 pounds and wearing a brown jacket, Toney said in a news release. Further description details were not provided.
At the Expressway store on Mechanicsville Turnpike near Laburnum Avenue this morning, a trashcan blocked the door to the closed market.
Tony Cosby, a retired educator who has portrayed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in re-enactments, said he was saddened to learn of the slaying. He described the person who worked at the store as a friend with whom he would frequently stop and chat.
"There needs to be a movement to stop this violence," Cosby said. "Somebody needs to say something."
Shawn Robinson, a customer, said he has been coming by the store since he was in high school and described the store operator as a "straight up, fair guy" who had operated the shop at least the past 20 years.
Anyone with information is asked to call Henrico Police at (804) 501-5000 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. Citizens can also text Crime Stoppers at 274637, using the key word "ITip" followed by your tip. Both Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.
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