TACOMA, Wash. - A killer is still on the loose and a community in mourning after a well-liked shop owner in Tacoma was gunned down this afternoon near the doorstep of his convenience store.
It happened Tuesday at around 1 p.m. near South Ainsworth Ave & South 35th Street at The Little Store.
Neighbors are devastated. They say Charlie, the victim in this case, was a dad-like figure to the neighborhood kids as they were growing up over the years. He was firm on rules in the store, but always kind and will be terribly missed.
"I’m very broken-hearted. I’m angry I’m sad. I’m devastated. I’ve known this man all my life," said Tia Green. "He knows my whole family; he knows my whole household. He was just awesome, just awesome. He knew what you wanted when you walked in there."
Green had bought gum, pop and candy from Charlie as a child and still shopped there sometimes as an adult. She just was one of many left in tears after finding out that Charlie had been shot and killed at the family business that he took so much pride in.
"I’m mentally exhausted, I just can’t believe it happened. I can’t believe it happened, said Green.
Donjane Young also made purchases from Charlie throughout her young life. She still lives close to the store.
"This was very senseless and he didn’t do anything to anybody. He was a really nice man," said Young.
Regular customer Kendra Bukovac arrived at the store moments after the shooting.
"It’s really tragic. It has to be someone from out of town, because everybody here knows him. We all go to the store, every one of us," said Bukovac. "Always smiled. Had really nice things to say when he would walk in and greet you. ‘Have a good day’, always really polite."
"He was such a nice guy, and his son too. His son usually works an evening shift. It’s horrible," said Neighbor Connie O’Neal, also a regular shopper at The Little Store.
Neighbors say Charlie and his family lived on the store property. He could often be seen on his daily walks around the block.
"He does these laps around the neighborhood, and we see him all the time," said Green.
Residents who knew and loved Charlie say the neighborhood won’t be the same without him.
"I hope they catch whoever did this and I hope there is justice," said Bukovac.
"I just feel so bad for his family and I hope everything will be ok and justice will be served," said Young.
"I’ve been praying since I found out. I've been crying since I found out," said Green. "Life is not promised. I'm just so mad that his life was lost at another person's hands."
As of Tuesday evening, Tacoma Police did not have a suspect description. Investigators are asking neighbors to check their security cameras to see if there is any video that might help in the investigation.