DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham Police are looking for whoever came into a convenience store on South Briggs Avenue Saturday night and shot the store clerk to death.
According to police, a man entered the Buy Quick convenience store at 419 South Briggs Ave. shortly before 7 p.m. and fired multiple shots, hitting the store clerk. The victim has been identified as Mohamed Thabet Shoufar, 58. Shoufar was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Witness James Phillips echoed the information released by police.
“I went in the store to buy a pack of cigarettes, the next thing I knew – a guy came in behind me with a pistol and dagum shot two shots at the guy behind the counter,” he said.
Phillips said the man who shot Shoufar was wearing a mask and had demanded the clerk hand over a gun and money. There was no gun to be found and Phillips said he believed the suspect ran off with some money after the shooting.
“It sounded like the gunshot was right there at my ear. I just froze. I couldn’t do nothing,” he said.
Musaed Saleh said he was a friend of the victim – they both came from the same village in Yemen. According to Saleh, Shoufar had lived in Durham for about 15 years and in America for 20.
Shoufar was a hard worker and wanted to earn enough money to get his kids to America to escape the conflict and violence that has gripped Yemen in recent years, Saleh said.
“That was really his career – take care of his family and move to a better place to live with them,” he said. “They just came and took his life for nothing. They could get the money if they want to, but I don’t know why they just killed him.”
People who knew Shoufar told WNCN that he was the type of person who would help people out – he would even give food to hungry customers who couldn’t pay.
“[He was a] nice man. Joked with everybody. It’s a community store. Everybody knew him,” Phillips said.
“He really was a great man,” said Saleh.
“I’d like to send my condolences out to the whole family and hopefully we can catch this person and put them to justice,” Phillips said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator M. Evans at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29336 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.