Mur­der sus­pect still at large

$5,000 award of­fered in shoot­ing death of Pure Food Mart owner

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Tyler Smith

The fam­ily of mur­der vic­tim As­lam Muham­mad has an­nounced an award of $5,000 to any­one with in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the ar­rest and con­vic­tion of the mur­derer, said a New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice spokesman.

“We have been look­ing for peo­ple of in­ter­est, but so far, we have been un­able to iden­tify (the mur­derer),” said NCSO Lt. Bill Wat­ter­son.

In or­der to gen­er­ate more leads, the NCSO has re­leased se­cu­rity cam­era footage of the shoot­ing. The video showed a thin black male, be­tween 5 foot 8 inches and 5 foot 10 inches tall, run into the Pure Food Mart, lo­cated at 50 Morn­ing­side Drive, at ap­prox­i­mately 10:10 p.m. Fri­day night.

In the video, the sus­pect shoved a gun in Muham­mad’s face and re­port­edly de­manded money, at which point the owner opened the cash reg­is­ter with­out ar­gu­ment. The sus­pect then grabbed money from the $1 and $5 trays and, as he be­gan to walk away, shot Muham­mad in the face, said NCSO Lt. Keith Crum.

A hand­gun was used in the crime, though au­thor­i­ties are not re­leas­ing what type and cal­iber. The crime took less than 30 sec­onds from time the man en­tered to the time he ex­ited. An­other pa­tron of the store found Muham­mad a few min­utes af­ter the shoot­ing.

Of­fi­cers have lo­cated the mask worn by the killer, which Crum de­scribed as a stock­ing cap with two holes cut out for the sus­pect’s eyes.

Muham­mad, of Lawrenceville, was a fa­ther of three. His wife is a re­cent im­mi­grant to the United States and the fam­ily was ac­tive in their mosque, Crum said.

“He was ap­par­ently well liked in the com­mu­nity,” Crum said of Muham­mad. “”If some­one was run­ning low on money and needed di­a­pers or baby for­mula, he would give then store credit.”

The Pure Food Mart is cur­rently closed and will be for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

Muham­mad was the sec­ond per­son mur­dered in the store. For­mer owner Harry Hodge was mur­dered at the sta­tion on June 12, 1997. Three men were later ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the killing and are cur­rently in prison, Wat­ter­son said.

The mur­der is the sev­enth this year in New­ton County. Au­thor­i­ties have made ar­rests in five of the pre­vi­ous six mur­ders so far.

If you have in­for­ma­tion about, please call the NCSO at (678) 625-1403. Tips may also be given anony­mously at (678) 6255007 or on their Web site www. new­ton­sh­er­if­fga.org. In­for­ma­tion call also be given to the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS.

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