Police looking for man who shot shopkeeper known for kindness

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ST. LOUIS - Customers of a wounded south St. Louis shopkeeper are in shock over a shooting that has left the market temporarily closed.  St. Louis Metropolitan Police responded to the Beirut Market at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Sunday.  The store is in the 3700 block of Gravois Avenue near Bamberger Avenue.

“That’s just a shame and a shock what happened,” said Katie Knoll, customer.

Friends of the store owner said he is recovering from several gunshot wounds and hopes to be able to reopen the store soon.  Chris Caldwell once worked for the owner and calls him a generous man, “If you’re hungry, he’ll feed you.  He’s even helped me with my rent a few times,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell and other friends said the market owner was known to run tabs for regular customers who did not have enough money to pay their bill.

“He doesn’t really have the money to do it, but he does it anyway because he knows that people need help,” said Caldwell.

Police have not reported a motive for the shooting and say the suspect entered the market wearing a mask.  Caldwell said it appeared cash was taken and fears his former boss will run out of money unless he can heal quickly and re-open the store.  A bullet hole is visible on the storefront glass.

Caldwell added, “Emptying his register one time could be enough to close him down for good.”  He hopes to see the owner soon and hopes neighbors will show support for the business when it reopens.

“He’s probably one of the nicest guys I ever met,” said Caldwell.

Anyone with information about the shooting can contact CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS.

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