HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — Friends turned out by the dozens to remember a convenience store owner who was killed inside of his business this week.
Neighbor Naveed Malik, one of many who attended the funeral at the Islamic Center of Virginia for Farooq Bhimdi, paid his respects Wednesday afternoon.
“He was a very nice man. He was a very generous man, a family man. He raised a very successful family,” Malik said. “His daughter is an immigration attorney and his son went to college and does well. He gave his life for his family, for the American dream. He wanted to pursue happiness and we miss him.”
Ammar Amonette, the Imam of the Islamic Center of Virginia, said the service was a simple one and that members offered up prayers for Bhimdi and his family.
“This is the kind of sudden tragedy that no one can prepare for. It is very difficult for them, but they are a people of faith and people who have strong piety,” Amonette explained. “He was known in the community and they have a lot of community support and there’s love for the whole family.”
The pain is also evident among loyal customers who cannot believe their friend, the man they fondly called, “Mr. Bean,” is gone.
Many vowed to help police in any way possible — and they did.
“I feel like this victim knew a lot of people and had a strong impact on the community and people were willing to step up and say hey, I think I know who that is,” Henrico police Lt. Linda Toney said.
Toney also tells CBS 6 News one of the biggest helps came from Bhimdi, himself.
In fact, a video surveillance system inside of the Expressway convenience store helped lead to the arrest of 19-year-old Jamon Burroughs.
“We were able to show photos to people and help us identify who the person was. Other businesses should know that having a good system like this is very helpful when something like this happens. It’s key in making an arrest,” Toney explained.
Friends who stopped by the Islamic Center of Virginia to say goodbye to Bhimdi said the arrest helps, but doesn’t come close to easing the pain.
Neighbor Naveed Malik said this latest deadly shooting in their tight-knit community has shaken them. He said it is adding yet another layer of worry, reminding them of an unsolved convenience store murder on Richmond’s South Side last fall.
Mohammad Taib died in that attempted robber and Malik said the community is desperate for investigators to make progress in that case and arrest a suspect.
“A couple of months ago we had another brother who died in a convenience store in and we haven’t recovered from that and then this happens. I just say God please give them a nice place in Heaven.”
As the legal process begins for the 19-year-old suspect, Bhimdi’s loved ones know they must rely on their memories — and each other — to get through the difficult days ahead.