Local News

Rocky Mount store owner shot to death

Posted March 8, 2011 7:22 a.m. EST
Updated March 10, 2011 10:26 a.m. EST

— 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.

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.