Gunman sought in Phila. merchant killing

September 22, 2009 3:42:58 PM PDT
Domingo Rodriguez, or Papi, as he was known in his Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood, had only operated the Peralta Grocery Store on the 6600 block of Dorel Street for a few months. But already he had established himself as a kind, caring man.

"He lived for this community. If you were hungry he fed you. If you were thirsty he made sure you had something to drink," said Marva Cook.

Upon learning of his death, Berkisu Osamn wept on some nearby steps. She says Rodriguez greeted her every morning with his big smile and quick wit.

"He was so nice and polite to everyone," Osamn said.

Police say the gunman walked in the corner store around 7:00 p.m. on Monday, went behind the bullet proof Plexiglas, and fired one shot hitting Rodriguez in the chest. The gunman then robbed him of roughly $2,000 and fled the area in a vehicle.

Friends and relatives gathered at the scene as detectives looked for clues.

Rodriguez's wife witnessed the shooting. She was by his side when he died at a local hospital. She will now be left to care for the couple's 11 and 13-year-old children, while neighbors also cope with the loss.

She said the gunman threatened to shoot her before he fled.

Police say this will be a tough case to crack. Sources tell Action News it happened so quickly, no one got a description of the shooter or the vehicle he fled in.

The store had security cameras, but they weren't working at the time.

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