Guyanese man shot dead in NY grocery
February 13, 2003
New York City authorities are hunting two men who killed a Guyanese man in a Queens grocery on Saturday and who are suspected to have been involved in a similar slaying in a Brooklyn minimart, just two hours after.
According to reports in the New York Daily News and in the Newsday newspaper, John Freddy, 43, who migrated from Guyana 13 years ago, died after he was shot in the head, at the Central Mini Market at 77-20 Liberty Ave, on the border of Ozone Park and Richmond Hill.
A dairy manager at the Associated Supermarket, Freddy had gone to buy a cup of coffee at the Mini Market, as he did every morning before his 7 am shift, at the Mini market located across the street from his workplace.
A pool of blood remained at the spot where Freddy was killed, in an aisle of soda bottles and motor oil. A bloodied “I Love NY” paper coffee cup lay nearby.
Less than two hours later, a customer walked into the Around the Clock convenience store on Avenue N in Old Mill Basin, Brooklyn, to find the owner, Sukhjit (Sammy) Khajala, 50, dead with two gunshot wounds in his head.
“The investigation into both of these homicides has disclosed that the same individuals [may] be involved,” Capt. Vincent Rosiello said at a news conference at police headquarters, Newsday reported.
Police released video images of the suspects taken from the Mini Market, where Freddy was shot dead.
Police said the gunmen apparently intended to rip off the cashier and it appeared the robbers might have been startled to find Freddy there.
Rosiello said the gunmen fled in an unidentified vehicle and may have ended up at the Around the Clock mini market at 5803 Ave. N in Flatbush, where Khajala, a cashier, was killed at 8:50 a.m.
Police said the killers got away with $169, most of it lottery proceeds, after shooting Khajala, an immigrant from India, in the head.
A US$12,000 reward in each case is available to anyone with a tip that leads to a conviction.
Horrified friends and family gathered at Freddy’s apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on Saturday to console his wife, Minta Freddy, 34, and their son, Michael.
“I won’t believe that he’s gone until I see him,” the stunned widow said.
She sat on the couch, her young son clinging to her side, surrounded by boxes. The family was getting ready to move next week to upstate Schenectady, where the Freddys had bought a two-storey house.
The man’s widow said her husband had been held up twice at the Associated Supermarket where he worked, once in 2000 and the last time in November.
“He said the next time he gets held up he is going to die,” she recalled.
Dara Matapersad, a close friend of the family, said Freddy had wanted to leave his job at the supermarket because he had witnessed two other robberies while at work in the past several months. Freddy had worked at the store for six years, he said.
Vesham Latchana, another close friend, added: “He was happy with his job until recently, when the robberies started happening.”