Slain store clerk had hard lesson 21 years earlier

Posted on: 12:06 am, February 1, 2013, by , updated on: 01:07pm, February 1, 2013

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Video surveillance cameras captured two fatal robberies – just hours within being exactly 21 years apart – at convenience stores owned by Farooq Bhimdi .

Monday night’s robbery-turned-homicide at his Mechanicsville Turnpike Express Way store claimed his life.

Bhimdi’s long experience with robberies played a big role in the arrest of 19-year-old Jamon Burroughs, charged with the murder of the upbeat 64-year-old store owner much-loved in his community.

“We were able to show some of the photos we had to people who were able to help us identify who the person was,” said Henrico police Lt. Linda Toney.

The interior of the Express Way store was watched by multiple surveillance cameras covering every angle, capturing the 9:45 p.m. robbery on Monday, January 30th.

It was a lesson Bhimdi learned a quarter century ago  at his Hop-In Government Road convenience store in Fulton Bottom, one of the most-robbed businesses in Richmond. It was hit 14 times in the decade leading up to the tragic shooting and robbery 21 years ago, records show. That happened at  11:45 a.m., January 30, 1992.

Bhimdi ordinarily would’ve been at the store, which was watched inside by four different cameras, according to court testimony at the time. Those cameras showed a young man getting a bottle of beer out of the cooler, walking up and firing a pistol right into the face of the clerk, 52-year-old Kareem Virani.

A young accomplice cleans out the cash register as the bleeding clerk – his jaw shattered and spinal cord severed – cries out on the tape, “Oh, God, please help me!”

Richmond Judge James Lumpkin, watching and listening to that video, called the shooting “merciless and inhuman” and sentenced the 22-year-old shooter to life plus 60 years. The clerk lived for 10 months, paralyzed, breathing with a ventilator, suffering, before he died.

That incident was devastating for Farooq Bhimdi, his son told CBS-6 Thursday evening as the family continued to mourn their loss, 21 years after the other heartbreaker.

A prayer vigil will be held at the Mechanicsville Express Way store Friday at 6 p.m.