Atlanta police search for killer of grocery store clerk - CBS46 News

Atlanta police search for killer of grocery store clerk

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Clerk killed at store. Clerk killed at store.
Detectives investigate store clerk's murder in southeast Atlanta. Detectives investigate store clerk's murder in southeast Atlanta.

Detectives were searching for clues early Monday morning in the shooting death of a grocery store clerk in southeast Atlanta.

According to police, the owner of Big Brother 2 Food Mart on Norwood Road arrived at about midnight and found the clerk dead in the doorway.

Police did not identify the victim, but the property owner told CBS46 News that he knew him well.

Click here to watch surveillance video from the robbery.

"He was a friend," said Paltu Roy. "He just came to United States not too long ago, like years ago, and he just started a new job for me here."

The victim, Ajit Panday,  was in his early to mid-20s and originally from India. He spoke very little English, according to friends.

He was visiting Atlanta from Iowa and had been here for about two months, volunteering his time at the store helping the general manager out in exchange for a place to sleep in the back of the store.

"There's still a timeline we haven't established yet," said Capt. Paul Guerrucci, homicide commander of the Atlanta Police Department. "We don't know exactly when this incident occurred either. It may have happened hours before anybody called the police. We're not sure."

The evidence leads detectives to believe that the motive was robbery, he said.

Security camera video obtained by CBS46 confirms the shooter stole cash and several items after shooting Panday.

The video shows the victim walking outside to close and lock the security gate on the front door when his attention is drawn away from the building.

He freezes in place as the armed robber approaches with his gun raised, and is forced inside.

Another angle shows what happened next. The gun man pushes Panday, who turns toward the robber. Panday is then struck in the face with the gun, and then falls out of frame.

A store shelving unit blocks the view of Panday from then on, but the robber is clearly seen pointing the gun in the direction Panday fell. The gunman's arm jerks as he pulls the trigger.

Several more shots are fired with the gunman standing over Panday, right in front of the door. The robber then starts to head for the cash registers,  stops, turns around, and shoots Panday again.

From there it is a mad dash to grab what the thief can get his hands on. First he goes for the cash register, then rifles through the merchandise on the back wall, before settling on a few cartons of cigarettes.

Finally, he takes Panday's laptop that was sitting on the counter, runs out the front door and disappears into the night. He is last seen running toward the neighborhood, a car drives past just seconds after he crosses the street.

The general manager of the store told CBS46's Jason Aubry he warned him often to be very careful at night when he locked the iron gate in front of the doors because robbers could rush him and get inside.

"Multiple shots were fired, and just there are some other things right now that I'm not prepared to discuss until we further evaluate and find out specifically," said Guerrucci.

Guerrucci asked that anyone who was in the area of Norwood Road and Forrest Park Road in southeast Atlanta Sunday between 9 p.m. and midnight call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477).

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