Distraught customer mourns employee killed in Richmond Dollar General shooting: 'It saddens my heart'

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Posted at 5:34 PM, Dec 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-14 17:34:27-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Living near the Dollar General on Richmond Highway in South Richmond, Solomon Walker says he shops there often, sometimes multiple times a week.

Walker said the atmosphere in the store is usually welcoming and comfortable, but he sensed a whole different atmosphere in the area after a store employee was shot during a robbery attempt early Wednesday evening.

"The atmosphere in the neighborhood, you can just feel it," Walker said solemnly, shaking his head. “It saddens my heart because the people that work there, they're kind, and they're loving people. I’ve been there a couple of times, and people have been short of change, and they’ve helped them out with it. The part that gets me with this is that that's somebody's brother, son, or father, you know, especially in at time of the year.”

Shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Richmond police said a male store employee was shot during the attempted robbery. The victim was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries, officials said.

RPD has not identified the victim yet.

The store remained closed Thursday, and the few employees who were standing in front of the store were not permitted to speak.

Officials said multiple witnesses who were inside and store and in the parking lot at the time of the shooting were interviewed by detectives, who continue to follow up on leads.

Walker said even though many dollar stores get a bad rep, this one is usually well-run and the employees are welcoming.

He said that fact makes the situation all the more perplexing and vexing.

“No sooner than the doors slide open and you walk in, they say, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ To greet you to let you know that you're welcome to come in and shop," Walker said.

“Being in customer service, you have to deal with so many people, so many different attitudes. It's hard to find the right type of people to do that type of work. When they're faced with something like this, it makes us really wonder what's really going on in our world. You know, what's going through people's minds?”

Walker said he knew the employee who was killed from his visits to the store.

During a season that is supposed to be about bringing family together to celebrate, Walker said his thoughts are with the family the victim leaves behind.

"My prayers are with you. Know that someone's watching. And if there’s someone who knows who did this, say something if you see something because a family now has to mourn at this time of holiday. And my heart goes out to you," he said.

RPD officials said anyone with information about this shooting should contact Major Crimes Detective M. Gouldman at (804) 646-3915 or call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous, officials said.

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