Family of slain store owner says store will reopen - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Family of slain store owner says store will reopen

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

Less than a day after Henrico Police arrested 19-year-old Jamon Burrough's in the shooting death of store owner, Farooq Bhimdi, Bhimdi's family buried him in Henrico.

For the first time, we are hearing from those who were closest to the store owner. The family tells NBC12 the are moved by the outpouring of support from the community. Bhimdi's son and two son-in-laws saw the memorial at the store on Mechanicsville Turnpike for the first time on Wednesday. They did not want to go on camera.

In a short amount of time, we are seeing how big of an impact store owner Bhimdi's death has on the community.

From prayers loudly lifted up at a vigil held by loyal customers on Tuesday night to the more somber gathering at his funeral at the Islamic Center of Virginia on Wednesday.

"This is the kind of sudden tragedy that nobody is prepared for," said Imam Ammar Amonette

NBC12 kept our cameras back out of respect for the family, but Naveed Malik spoke to us calling Bhimdi a good friend.

"Brother Bhimdi, God bless him, was a very nice man, he was a very generous man, he was a very family man," he said.

We are told Bhimdi came to America from Pakistan about 25 years ago. His goal: to make a better life here in the states. Soon after he opened up the Expressway Convenience Store on Mechanicsville Turnpike and became a fixture in eastern Henrico.

"He gave his life for his family to pursue the American dream and happiness," Malik said.

It's an American dream shattered by violence. But it's not the first time this community has buried a man gunned down in his own store. The funeral for Mohammad Taib was held two months ago. His killer has not been caught. Both cases are unsettling to Imam Amonette.

"I hope that they will have a voice that can be heard here in local government and law enforcement. Maybe this will be a cause of opening up that conversation," he said.

The Imam says the outpouring of love from the community is moving.

"I think he [Bhimdi] demonstrated his faith in his character and his daily conduct and it showed there how important he was in eastern Henrico," he said.

So important, Bhimdi's makeshift memorial was preserved from the rain -- as if to preserve his memory.

Bhimdi leaves behind a wife and two daughters and a son.

The Expressway Convenience store where the shooting occurred remains closed, but family members say they plan to re-open. An exact date has not been set.

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