BRUNDIDGE, Ala. (WSFA) - A clerk who was shot and killed during an apparent gas station robbery in south Alabama Wednesday morning has been identified. The Pike County coroner’s office confirmed the victim is 30-year-old Neil Kumar.
A spokesperson for Troy University confirmed Kumar was a graduate assistant pursuing his master’s degree in computer science.
“The Troy University community is shocked and saddened by this act of violence and we extend our deepest condolences to Neil’s family and friends,” said University spokesman Clifton Lusk Sr. “The Office of International Programs has been in contact with his family and is offering support and assistance.”
Kumar was working at the Gulf Gas Station on Highway 10 in Brundidge as a part-time employee.
Investigators are searching for the suspect, though a description of the man was not immediately clear. Police Chief Moses Davenport told WSFA 12 News his investigators were looking through surveillance video in an effort to identify the suspect.
The victim was shot at nearly point-blank range in a crime police believe, based on evidence collected so far, the suspect may have been ready to commit. Making the crime even bolder, the murder happened just a block from the Brundidge Police Department.
“This person seemed to have known something about the area,” Davenport said, “and, it appears he came here to do what he did, if necessary."
The evidence shows the shooter went into the gas station around 6 a.m. and demanded money. He then went behind the counter, shot the clerk at close range, then took off with an unknown amount of cash.
There were no other people in the store or in the parking lot at the time of the robbery/homicide.
Chief Davenport said he wasn’t sure who called 911 but the call came in closer to 7 a.m.
Timothy Brattum arrived at the gas station in the midst of investigators collecting evidence. He said learning of his former co-worker’s death is especially shocking considering how he lived.
“Every time people come into the store, he always greets them,” Brattum explained, “even when they’re mad, he’s cool. If they’re short of change, he gets it out his pocket. He pays it. He says thank you sir, have a good day. Y’all didn’t have to kill him.”
Police are asking anyone who may have seen or heard anything in the area of the store from around 5:30 - 6:30 a.m. to contact police. If you have any information that could help authorities, call 911 immediately.