HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — A clerk was found shot the death in his food store in northwest Harris County overnight, and investigators are trying to track down the person who killed him, deputies said early Thursday.
According to deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the clerk was found murdered at 3 a.m. inside the Blue Bell Corner Store on Veterans Memorial Drive.
A regular customer went into the 24-hour store and left when she didn’t see any workers inside. She went home and told her boyfriend, who called 911 to report the suspicious scene.
Deputies said they arrived at the store and found the clerk dead in an office area behind the counter.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the man was killed, but deputies suspect he was murdered during a robbery. His pockets were empties including his wallet, which was taken.
“I’m going to call it trauma at this point,” said Sgt. Felipe Rivera. “I can’t really tell you the cause of the death or the manner at this point until we have a medical examiner’s office come here and tell us what it is.”
Investigators said the victim was in his 40s or 50s with a wife, two children and customers who cared about him.
“It’s terrible. It is very terrible,” Enrique Guzman, a loyal customer, said. “Anger… anger.”
One of the store’s suppliers said that crimes like this need to stop.
“I think they ought to get somebody to just sit in the stores, and when they come in to rob them, they should just come out and blast them. They do that a few times, it would stop.” John, whose last name was not provided, said.
Guzman spoke very fondly of the victim and how friendly he was to his customers.
“He called me Bubba. Good morning, Bubba! My name ain’t even Bubba. You don’t have no money, don’t worry about it…” Guzman said.
John said he was one the nicest person someone could know.
“He’d give you the shirt off his back. If you were short some money, sure he would have let you have it,’ he said.
Guzman said that this kind of crime have become an issue for the area.
“It’s been happening a lot in this area… down 249… Bammel… everybody getting robbed. Donut shops… they all getting robbed,” he said.
Jackie Gonzales lives near the store and didn't know what to think.
“Scared. And I got kids. And I walk over here when they come home from school. They say mom can we get this, I say OK let's walk,” Gonzales said. “Now I don't want to walk over here with my kids no more.”
Customers said the store had only been opened for three months.
“It's just sad because they just remodeled this store, and they were trying to rebuild something. They were always nice, and they are losing their life when they are trying to make something out of themselves,” Niki Wilson, another customer, said.
Jose Garcia said he knew there would be problems when the store began staying open 24 hours a day.
“I told him I warned him (the victim). This neighborhood is not that great,” Garcia, who also owns a business, said.
Garcia said there have been several robberies and murders in this part of Harris County just during the last week.
“It makes everybody fearful of their own lives from day to day,” Barbia Churchill said. “You've got to watch over your back all the time. That's a hard way to live your life everyday being afraid.”
KHOU 11 News went to the clerk's home where he was described as being extremely compassionate. One childhood friend was heartbroken saying the victim helped everybody.
KHOU 11 News is not releasing his name since he has not been officially identified.
Meantime, investigators are checking to see if the store's video cameras caught the attack on tape.