East End business owners fight back against being "targeted" - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

East End business owners fight back against being "targeted"

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

Cries of mourning turn to cries for action in Henrico County as a memorial service was held for 63-year-old convenience store owner Farooq Bhimdi.

Bhimdi was gunned down at the Expressway Convenience Store last Monday. Now, his fellow business owners are working to fight back and protect themselves.

Henrico Police have promised to start scoping out the county's various convenience stores and suggest how owners and their employees can stay safe when working late hours alone.

Malik Khan is heading up the fight. He's the president of the Asian-American Society of Central Virginia. Khan as lost three friends in seven short months.

First, Paresh Patel was abducted and later found dead in September. Then, Muhammed Taib was found shot to death in November. Now, Farooq Bhimdi.

Khan points out all the victims were Asian-American store owners.

"The tragedy is still fresh in our minds and our community feels targeted," said Khan. "It feels dangerous for convenience store owners."

Khan and other members of the society met with Henrico Police, the county manager and the county attorney Monday afternoon as a first step to boost security at local convenience stores.

Khan hopes by keeping the lines of communication open with police, raising awareness and upping security with cameras, even weapons, they can prevent another crime.

"It's not just police responsibility," said Khan. "The responsibility falls to the business owners, too."

The Asian-American Society of Central Virginia has met with Chesterfield Police as well and has plans to meet with Richmond City officials soon.

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