As customers at Three T Food Mart near the intersection of Ky. 86 and Ky. 62 in Cecilia paid for merchandise, some dropped change or dollar bills Thursday into one of two glass jars along the store counter.
A former employee, Chirag Patel, 33, was one of two people shot and killed Nov. 14 during an armed robbery at Po Boys Convenience Store in Denmark, South Carolina, where he worked, according to the Denmark Police Department.
Patel had worked at Three T for about five years before moving to South Carolina last year.
The news of his death was stunning to many customers.
“Me and my husband go there for breakfast,” Suzy Leyk said. “It just blew my mind when I saw what had happened. It’s just very sad.”
Patel was born in Gujarat, India.
Kiran Patel, 32, of Denmark, South Carolina, was the other shooting victim. Both men were married and each had a son, according to their obituaries.
“You become friends with people when you go to the store a lot,” Leyk said. “He would call us by our first names when we would go in there. He would say, ‘Hi, Suzy and Chris.’ It just breaks my heart.”
The funerals for both men are Saturday at Dukes Harley Funeral Home and Crematory in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
As of Thursday, no arrests had been made in the case, according to news reports. The shooting happened at 10:40 p.m. Nov. 14.
Chirag Patel was known as “Casey” by many local customers at Three T Food Mart.
“He was very nice,” Leyk said.
Another customer Thursday didn’t realize what had happened until she went to the counter to pay for her purchase and read a note taped to a jar, a picture of Patel and a description of what had happened.
“I just can’t believe it,” she said as she walked out of the store.
Three T Food Mart is accepting donations to help his Patel’s family, according to information on the jars.
A jar nearly was full Thursday with change and various denominations of bills.