Waukena community grieves for market owner shot and killed during robbery

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Waukena, on the western edge of Tulare County, is easy to miss.

But you know you're there when you see the sign for the town market.

More than just a store, Lilly Onofre says it's a community hub.

At the center of that community was Manuel Martin, the happy and helpful co-owner of the market.

"Manuel standing outside talking to everybody," Onofre remembered. "Everybody loved him here."

On Monday night, Martin was working behind the counter when two men came inside and demanded money.

Sheriff's detectives say as Martin was getting the cash, there was a dispute.

"During the robbery, a confrontation did occur between the store clerk and the suspects, which ultimately led to the shooting," Tulare County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Sanchez said.
Sanchez says one of the men opened fire, striking Martin multiple times. He died at the scene.

At the time of the shooting, there were no customers inside, so detectives have gathered what they know from store surveillance video.

There were also cameras outside the store and at homes nearby. Detectives are reviewing that footage to try to identify the suspects' vehicle.
Onofre hopes justice is served. But she knows the little market in Waukena will never be the same.

Martin leaves behind three children and a wife.

"This shouldn't have happened to him because he wouldn't hurt anybody," Onofre said.

Detectives say they are also trying to figure out if the deadly robbery may be related to some other recent robberies in the southern part of Tulare County.
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