A clerk at an Englewood neighborhood convenience store was shot and killed Saturday night, the second store employee killed there in the last 10 years, officials said today.
The 48-year-old store employee was shot in the back inside Max's Food Mart in the 1100 block of West Garfield Boulevard about 8 p.m., police said.
The critically-injured clerk, identified as Asad Almhana, of the 12500 block of Iroquois Road in Palos Park, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he later died, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. An autopsy is scheduled for later today.
Almhana was the second employee to be killed while working at the convenience store. In October 2005, Ali Kuawar was shot and killed around 9 a.m. at the same location, police said. Witnesses at the time told police that after the shooting, they saw three male teens in hooded sweatshirts run from the store, police said in 2005. That case is still open, Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez said.
The circumstances were similar in the shooting of Almhana. According to preliminary reports, four teens were seen fleeing the scene, but police didn't have a detailed description of the gunman.
Perez said police initially thought it was a robbery, but they haven't formally established a motive. Max's co-owner, Munzer Karan, said it doesn't appear that anything was stolen at the shop.
In Palos Park, family gathered at the home of Almhana's brother Sunday, grieving a man they described as hard-working and good-humored.
"He worked, that’s all he did," said his niece, Lourin Almhana.
Asad Almahana, a native of Jordan, had lived in the United States for about 22 years, said his niece, who worked at the shop as a cashier. He'd been working at Max's for about six years, paying bit-by-bit to one day own the store, according to Karan.Almhana spent his days at the shop, and then he spent most of his nights in a back room equipped with a bed, his niece said.
Just recently, Almhana said he wanted to save up and move back to Jordan to be with his adult children, who live in the capital, Amman.
Though there had been at least one shooting while Almhana worked at the shop, there hadn't been many serious problems, his niece said. But kids and teenagers in the neighborhood liked to show off to their friends and shoplift from Max's, she said.
Nevertheless, the family knew it was a rough neighborhood and his brother, a cab driver, would check on him often, said Lourin Almhana.
Almhana, and his employees, also worked behind bulletproof glass.
Almhana, known as "Sam" to his customers, was known as a jokester with a sarcastic sense of humor, which some neighbors said they found disrespectful.
But some, like Marcus Montley, said Almhana was kind to his customers and would let people take items and pay for them later.
Montley, and others, said they were shocked Almhana had been shot.
"You don't know what's going to happem next and who is going to get shot," Montley, 25, said.
Tribune reporter William Lee contributed.