Clerk found shot to death at 'Tackle Box' gas station near Madera

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Thursday, November 16, 2017
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Detectives say the suspects stole cigarettes and cash last night and then killed the unarmed clerk on their way out.

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Detectives say the suspects stole cigarettes and cash last night and then killed the unarmed clerk on their way out.

Flowers and condolences have been pouring in all day here.

Many tears have also been shed for the clerk who deputies believe did not fight back but lost his life anyway.

Hugs and emotion Tuesday were impossible to miss at the place a clerk was gunned down during a robbery.

The store owner's son described the clerk as like family and said the loss is still surreal.

"We're all kind of shocked and in mourning right now. And we have every confidence in the law enforcement that they're going to do their job and find out who did this and make them pay for it," Bobby Nijjar said.

Madera County Deputies believe the suspects knew what they were after and where to find it when they entered the store just before 11 Monday night.

Pictures taken from surveillance cameras show one of the suspects carrying out boxes of cigarettes, wearing a white bandana.

The other one appears to have a revolver in his hand and initially a blue bandana over his lower face.

Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney said the cashier was alone at the time and fully cooperative.

Varney said, "I don't believe the clerk was armed and I don't believe he tried to be a hero or anything to stop the robbery. And quite frankly they shot him on the way out the door. What could he do to them at that point? It's a pretty cowardly act."

Deputies spent the day tracking down witnesses.

They were also trying to find the car the suspects were driving.

An unsuspecting witness drove up during the crime but appears to have discovered what was happening and left. Detectives are also analyzing the video which at one point reveals one of the robber's faces after his bandana fell.

Both robbers wore gloves and one were in socks and missing his shoes.

According to the video, several shots were fired - but it does not appear they were warning shots.

"The guns pointed in a level manner, directly in the direction of the clerk. Wasn't like a wild spray of bullets," said Varney.

Tuesday stunned customers stopped by to offer their sympathy.

Larry Sullivan said, "I just hate to hear that something like that happened. To me, it just hits close to home. It's where I go every day, I mean at least twice a week."

Many customers are regulars and more like friends. Their comforting words are helping the owners at this time.

"We just want to thank all of our customers for their support while they're going through this. And their patience while we're going through this," said Nijjar.

Deputies have been working around the clock to solve this homicide.

The sheriff said the quality of the surveillance video is excellent and has been very helpful in piecing details together.

The identity of the clerk is expected to be released soon.

More Information here.