Friends, family remember slain store owner

1 killed in Lake City store robbery

LAKE CITY, Fla. - Friends and family remember a Lake City store owner killed during an armed robbery.

Rajini Patel, 55, who owns A&M Discount Beverage on East Duval Street, was shot and killed on Friday afternoon.

Witnesses said there were two robbers. A young black man, about 5 feet 7 inches tall weighing about 180 pounds with short hair and wearing a gray T-shirt and jeans entered the store about 1:30 p.m., took money and left the store in a vehicle, police said.

A second robber, lighter skinned, in his mid-30s and weighing 230-250 pounds, was wearing a straw hat with a white baggie tee shirt, light blue jeans and dark shoes with white tape across his nose and on the left side of his neck. He entered the store and shot the victim, police said. He ran from the store on foot and tried to carjack a white Mercury in the parking lot. The owner of the car would not allow him to enter and drove away to another convenience store about a mile away, police said.

Police said Patel's wife Daxa was also shot but not injured.

On Saturday, there were flowers and cars sitting at the Patel's door. There were more flowers at the store.

The couple's son was seen cleaning the store and filling out paperwork there.

"I don't understand what these guys thought they were proving. I really don't. I mean, what'd they get out of it? A couple hundred dollars," said Jenny Morris, who lives next door to the Patel family.

"It's just a shame that stuff like this has got to happen," Morris added. "You never dreamed that it would happen right here in your neighborhood. I mean, look at the store. It's what a little over 100 feet from my house."

"I couldn't believe it, really," said Raymond Newtown, a customer.

If you have any information about the men sought in the killing, call Lake City police at 386-719-2068.

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