Local News

Second convenience store owner in Rocky Mount slain

Posted May 19, 2011 9:28 a.m. EDT
Updated May 19, 2011 6:40 p.m. EDT

— A man slain inside a Rocky Mount business early Thursday was the second convenience store owner in the city to be killed since March, police said.

Police said they received a call about a robbery and an unresponsive man at Karims Food Mart, 2053 Raleigh Road, around 12:50 a.m. Officers found the owner, Abdul Karim Alwarrak, 47, dead inside the store.

Police are looking for a green or dark-colored minivan that might have been used in the slaying.

Customers who came by the store later Thursday said that a gray car left at the store belonged to Alwarrak. They said his usual end-of-shift routine involved leaving the car running for a little while as he locked up around 1 a.m.

Investigators are treating Alwarrak's death as a homicide. A state medical examiner will perform an autopsy on the body to determine the cause of death.

Anyone with information about the case should contact Rocky Mount police at 252-972-1411 or Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111.

Police said that so far, there's no evidence to connect Alwarrak's death to the shooting death of another convenience store owner, Rafiq Salim "Sammy" Soufan, around 12:45 a.m. on March 8. Police have offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in that case.

Karims Food Mart is less than 3 miles from Sammy's Food Mart, at 1100 Old Wilson Road.

Rocky Mount residents said the slayings, combined with the tough economy, have them on edge going out at night.

"Sammy's murder hasn't been solved, and here's this business owner murdered," Cynthia Harris, of Rocky Mount, said. "I'm just wondering, when is it going to stop?"

Harris said she saw Alwarrak on Wednesday and that he asked her, "Where have you been, my friend?"

Another customer, Irene Wilkes, described Alwarrak as "such a sweet and loving man."

"Who would do something like this?" she asked. "Let's just hope whoever did it will be found."