Local News

Rocky Mount store owner shot to death

Posted March 8, 2011
Updated March 10, 2011

— The owner of Sammy's Food Mart in Rocky Mount was found shot to death early Tuesday at his store, according to police.

Rafiq Salim Soufan, known as "Sammy," 47, was found lying in the doorway of the store, at 1100 Old Wilson Road, around 12:45 a.m., police said.

Authorities are looking for two or three people who are possibly driving a four-door, older model, gray Toyota Camry or black or gray Chevrolet Caprice with three hubcaps and one black steel rim.

Police were following up on leads Tuesday afternoon, said Capt. Laura Fahnestock of the Rocky Mount Police Department, and have not ruled out robbery as a possible motive.

No surveillance videos were released, and Fahnestock would not confirm whether the store was equipped with surveillance cameras.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Twin County Crime Stoppers at 977-1111 or crimestoppers@rockymountnc.gov.

Community mourns slain store owner in Rocky Mount Community mourns slain store owner in Rocky Mount

Customer Talia Fields said Soufan was like a second father to her.

"He was giving money out of his pocket so other people could get stuff for free, and then somebody come and take his life? That’s crazy," she said. "Even if you’re feeling mad, Sammy will find a way to put a smile on your face before you left his store ... That’s why it’s crazy."

Customer Lashell Norwood said Soufan really cared about the people who came to his store.

"He actually knew each individual," she said. "I can’t imagine somebody having a cold heart that they would turn around and do something like this to him ... But I’m pretty sure at the end of the day they are going to crack this case."

Hundreds of community members gathered at the store Tuesday evening to remember Soufan and a memorial of flowers and notes overflowed from the store's front door.


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  • desertpetiri Mar 18, 2011

    Sammy's wife has been an integral part of the romance community for years – she owns and runs the RR@H Novel Thoughts and Book Talk blog, is an administrator of the WriteMinded loop, an author assistant and a tireless advocate for romance novels. She is also a friend to many in the romance novel community. We, the romance authors are coming together to assist Fatin by running an auction of romance products/materials and information. To read more, check out Operation Auction.

  • RM24 Mar 9, 2011

    Something really needs to be done in the City of Rocky Mount. The people outside in the county outside the city appear to have thrown up their hands and are doing all their shopping other places. Business's are shutting down all around this town. Leaders of Rocky Mount and Even Wilson Co are fighting to keep jobs away from the area. It's not getting better anytime in the near future it appears. I am not sure that the City knows how to clean this up or has the financial means to do so. Maybe they don't care?

  • 504chris27 Mar 8, 2011

    Man hope who did this get theres....just movin n rocky mount for a few months n Sammie became a great friend and mentor(to his wife n family GOD BLESS YALL n stay strong n sammie u will be n my heart my friend(504 chris aka SAMMIE Lil N.O.)

  • 504chris27 Mar 8, 2011

    R.I.P. sammie(I came down from NEW ORLEANS and me and Sammie got so close,I cant believe a person could harm such of a good person with a great big heart. My buddy is in a better place n it hurt me when I got the bad news...I was his lil new orleans CHRIS (SAMMIE U WILL BE MISS) from da 504 to da 252

  • ccs1920 Mar 8, 2011

    It's sad that they couldn't wait just a few more days until the checks came in the mail. I love the GREAT SOCIETY that President Lyndon Johnson created.

  • bmg379 Mar 8, 2011

    Authorities are looking for two or three who are possibly driving a four-door, older model, gray Toyota Camry with three hubcaps and one black steel rim.

  • dontgetmestarted Mar 8, 2011

    djofraleigh...so true.

  • djofraleigh Mar 8, 2011

    Man trying to make a living serving people where most would not want to do it...now we know why. I pray for the man's family and friends, which he had many.

  • dontgetmestarted Mar 8, 2011

    I don't think that anyone can murder someone who was as loved by the community as this man obviously was and get away with it. Someone knows and/or saw something or will put two and two together and will turn the murderer in. It's just bound to happen.

  • 426X3 Mar 8, 2011

    What in God's name is wrong with people?