Murder suspect still at large
$5,000 award offered in shooting death of Pure Food Mart owner
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.