SUMTER, SC (WIS) - Shirley Nelson made a pilgrimage to a special place on Tuesday night – a convenience store on Manning Avenue in Sumter called Save-Mart that's now blocked by a chain, flowers, and candles.
"Even being close to the store and knowing that his life ended right here, you know," Nelson said in the candlelight.
Police have said two unknown masked men showed up there last Friday around 7 p.m. and immediately shot and killed the store's owner – 57-year-old Vijaykumar Patel.
Nelson saw Patel so much, she considered him a friend.
"A lot of people probably going through a lot of fear," she said.
She admitted it's been hard to sleep at her home nearby.
"And I know I wasn't the only one who couldn't rest. I heard a lot of my other friends and people in the community say they just toss and turn after they heard what happened to that nice man," Nelson said.
As police hunt for the gunmen, nearby business owners are also fearful – like Felicia Ragin, a salon owner. Tuesday, she also journeyed to the growing memorial to share her thoughts in another way. In only a few minutes, she jotted down a poem on the back of an envelope.
"There is a God that sits high and looks low. This pain and suffering that were going through will one day be no more," she recited to WIS. "The sorrow in his family's eyes, the sleepless nights as they cry and cry, as they ask the question, 'Oh, God. Why?' So I say to the Patel family hold onto your faith, and know that God is in control. This too shall pass, and one day will be old. So always remember his love, and never forget his face, and just know that Mr. Patel is in a better place."
If you have any information at all, big or small, Sumter Police want you to call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Police are offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest or conviction.
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