3 people arrested in murder of car wash owner

3 people arrested in murder of car wash owner
A body reportedly found in an SUV at a gas station. (Source: NBC12)
A body reportedly found in an SUV at a gas station. (Source: NBC12)

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - Three people have been arrested after a father was shot and killed early Wednesday morning outside of a car wash that he owned for almost a year.

The Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Office said a passerby reported seeing a man lying in the roadway just before 3 a.m. on Boydton Park Road near Richie Avenue.

Umar Abdus Salaam, 47, of Petersburg, was found suffering from a gunshot wound.

The location he was found is near his car wash, Zoe's Bubbles & Sudz detailing and also near a Shell gas station in Dinwiddie County.

He was transported to Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

On Friday, three people were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder:

  • Thornell Sledge, 24, of Petersburg,
  • Caleb Q. Smith, 25, of Newport News
  • Jhanae Short, 18, of Petersburg

They're being held without bond on Meherrin River Regional Jail in Alberta.

Timothy Couch was Salaam's management partner at the car wash and also one of his good friends.

"I'm kind of trying to hold myself together, for real," Couch said. "He was a good guy, man. I'm kind of blown that he's gone right now. I came up here immediately trying to find out what's going on. I just hope they find out who did it."

Salaam was a business owner, Petersburg resident and father to a little girl.

"His arms were always open to people, and he allowed people to come in too easily," Couch said. "In this type of world today, you can't just let anybody in your circle, 'cause people today are just savages and out to see what they can get."

The suspects will appear in court on Monday, June 25.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Office at (804) 469-3755.

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