Beloved store clerk killed on his last day of work

Shoot­ing vic­tim was about to re­tire from Alief-area shop

Houston Chronicle - - CITY | STATE - By Mas­sarah Mikati and Sa­man­tha Ket­terer STAFF WRIT­ERS

Hafeez Qureshi was the man who took care of ev­ery­one around him — his wife, chil­dren, grand­chil­dren, sib­lings and co­work­ers.

He was beloved at the con­ve­nience store where he worked, al­ways bring­ing his co-work­ers home-cooked meals and even help­ing them out fi­nan­cially. Loyal cus­tomers fol­lowed him to the dif­fer­ent stores where he worked as a clerk through­out the years, most re­cently Sonny’s — some would even keep him com­pany while he was clos­ing up the Alief-area store at night.

On Satur­day, his fi­nal day of work be­fore re­tir­ing, 66-yearold Qureshi was killed at 8:30 p.m. by four armed bur­glars at the store in the 9000 block of Dairy Ash­ford. He left be­hind his wife, two grand­chil­dren, two daugh­ters and three sons — one of whom has spe­cial needs.

“It’s heart­break­ing be­cause he called his wife and said, ‘To­day’s go­ing to be my last day,’ ” his son-in-law, Ikram Ul­lah, said. “He hung up the phone, and 15 min­utes later, the in­ci­dent took place.”

Wit­nesses told po­lice that the men de­manded money be­fore fir­ing three to five shots at Qureshi. Four men — Daiv­ion Gully, 18, Melvin Jones, 20, Ar­tavius John­son, 28, and DeAn­jelo Wells, 19 — were charged with cap­i­tal mur­der Fri­day in his death.

“Hous­ton po­lice caught the guys so no other fam­ily has to go through what we’re go­ing through,” Ul­lah said. “It’s a big sense of clo­sure.”

Qureshi had been work­ing at var­i­ous con­ve­nience stores un­der the same owner for the past 18 years. Ul­lah said Qureshi was in­cred­i­bly hard-work­ing and never took va­ca­tions — even dur­ing the Mus­lim hol­i­days he and his fam­ily cel­e­brated.

“He was… I run out of words,” Ul­lah said. “He al­ways took care of ev­ery­body. He was the head of the fam­ily. Even his brother con­sid­ered him as a fa­ther, not a brother.”

Qureshi’s brother had re­cently trav­eled to the U.S. from Dubai to visit him so they could travel and have bar­be­cues to­gether, per Qureshi’s re­quest.

Ul­lah said his fa­ther-in-law was gen­er­ous and would go out of his way to help ev­ery­one.

Orig­i­nally from Pak­istan, Qureshi never failed to pro­vide his nine broth­ers and two sis­ters back home with fi­nan­cial and moral sup­port. He would ask his wife to cook home­made meals for him to bring for his em­ploy­ees, mak­ing sure they ate be­fore him — even if it meant he wouldn’t eat at all. He would even fi­nan­cially help his em­ploy­ees, who Ul­lah said came to their fam­ily home cry­ing in grief. Sev­eral of Qureshi’s cus­tomers at­tended his fu­neral on Tues­day.

“He never showed me if he was dis­heart­ened or bro­ken down,” Ul­lah said. “He only ever showed me his strong side. He would rather help you than you help him.”

Amim Dayani, who also worked at Sonny’s, de­scribed Qureshi as a friendly face in the com­mu­nity and a fam­ily man at his core.

“He was a won­der­ful per­son, a fam­ily man, a lov­ing fa­ther,” he said. “I get goose­bumps when I think about him, to think that he is not here.”

Cour­tesy

Mourn­ers, in­clud­ing sev­eral cus­tomers at the con­ve­nience store where he had worked, laid Hafeez Qureshi to rest Tues­day af­ter he was killed in an armed rob­bery Satur­day.

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