Police continue to look for motive behind the death of Chesterfield store owner

Police continue to look for motive behind the death of Chesterfield store owner
55-year-old Harshad Patel shot inside convenience store. (Source: family)
55-year-old Harshad Patel shot inside convenience store. (Source: family)

(WWBT) - A funeral will be held on Wednesday afternoon to honor a convenience store owner in Chesterfield. Police and family members continue to search for answers and suspects in the death of Harshad Patel.

The shooting happened around 10:30 p.m. Monday at the The Marketplace on the 6800 block of Walmsley Boulevard.

The victim, 55-year-old Harshad Patel, was found near the ice cream freezer, towards the front of the store, suffering from a gunshot wound to the arm and chest, said the victim's wife. The family said he was lying on the floor for at least 20 minutes before a customer found him. His wife said she came to the store Monday night at about 10:30 to pick up her husband. When she arrived, she saw police everywhere and her husband in the ambulance struggling to breathe.

Patel was taken to the hospital, where he died.

Friends and neighbors tried to digest the news. They told NBC12 News that Patel and his wife had a family trip planned to India at the end of this week.

Bernard Branch, whose family owns the barber shop just two doors down from where Harshad Patel was murdered, couldn't believe what happened. "These days, every time you look, something is happening around here. I don't know what to say," he said shaking his head.

Francisco Garcia, who lives and owns the business across the street, said he and his family were in the store all the time. "It's really sad. It's really sad. He was a nice guy, real nice," she said. He was visiting a family member in the hospital when he ran into Patel's wife and learned what happened. "I find his wife over there, and I asked her what happened. She said, 'Someone shot my husband, and he got killed.' So, it's really upset [sic]. It's unbelievable. I can't believe it happened," he said shaking his head.

Garcia said he usually feels safe because there's a heavy police presence in this community, but he said it wasn't enough to keep this from happening.

"Chesterfield police always park over there, so they wasn't [sic] there last night. Most of the time, they park here and over there and, there was nobody. It's really sad."

Police are looking for the suspects, and they say the four suspects are black males.

The first suspect is described as a 6'3" man wearing a black stocking cap with a brim, a black jacket with an inverted triangle logo on the front, dark colored shoes and dark colored pants.

Police say the second suspect was wearing a black hooded jacket, a long-sleeved white shirt, black shoes and light-colored pants with a design and red shorts underneath.

The third suspect is described wearing a light gray hooded sweatshirt and a black ski mask, while police describe the fourth suspect wearing a dark gray hooded sweatshirt and a black ski mask.

Police released a photo of one of the four suspects in connection to a convenience store homicide in Chesterfield, but they have not released any information about what may have motivated the shooting.

We've learned police went to the address of the store seven times during 2015. Those calls include an accidental alarm, vandalism, and a suspicious person.

Harshad Patel was survived by countless of friends and family members, including his 2-year-old twin girls.

Anyone who knows anything about the case is asked to call Crime Solvers at 748-0660.

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