PIKE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The suspect in a Wednesday morning robbery and homicide in the city of Brundidge appears to have waited around outside for the Gulf Gas Station on Highway 10 to open before making his move.
Law enforcement in Pike County held a news conference Thursday morning to release some new details, including three pieces of surveillance video of the moments before, during and just after the crime.
A description of the suspect is limited to a male dressed in all black, with white gloves, and armed with a gun.
Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said the suspect “was in the general area of the store for a time prior to the store opening...it appears that he waited for the store to open."
The victim, 30-year-old store clerk Neil Kumar, opened the business at 6 a.m. and "within four minutes, he [the suspect] enters the store,” the sheriff said, recapping surveillance video of the crime.
Security video was recording from multiple angles. Investigators released parking lot video that shows the suspect coming out from behind a wooden fence, casually walking onto the property. A time stamp indicates it was approximately 5:55 a.m., five minutes before opening time.
Then, there’s a video segment from approximately 6:07 a.m. that shows the camera trained at the front door, the clerk’s counter visible. The suspect bolts through the door and immediately aims his weapon at Kumar, who is not shown in any of the released video evidence.
The suspect went behind the counter and was given the money from the register, the sheriff stated, confirming there was no struggle. Kumar, a part-time employee who was attending Troy University as a graduate student, was killed almost immediately.
“He’s inside the store for a short period of time and then exits the store,” the sheriff stated, “in an easterly direction."
Based on the time stamps, it appears the suspect was in the store less than a minute. At 6:08 a.m., the video shows that after killing Kumar, the suspect casually leaves the property on foot.
"As he comes out the front door, he goes right, down the sidewalk, across the railroad track and then disappears,” the sheriff stated.
Kumar was shot at nearly point-blank range, Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport said Wednesday. He said at the time that the suspect may have been ready to commit the murder, a brazen act at a store located just a block from the police department.
A cash reward of approximately $4,000 has been raised for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect, a likely capital murder investigation according to Pike County District Attorney Thomas Anderson.
Highway 10 is a very busy road at that time of the morning, police said, and anyone who was in the area of the gas station between approximately 5:45 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. and feels they may have seen something should call law enforcement immediately.
The sheriff said a truck driver who passed by the area in that time frame has already come forward to talk to investigators, though no information on that angle of the probe has been revealed.
Brundidge, the second largest city in Pike County with a population of around 2,000, is located about 65 miles southeast of Montgomery.
“It’s been many, many, many years since Brundidge had a robbery/homicide,” the sheriff said, turning to Chief Davenport, who said he can’t recall the city ever having one. Still, the sheriff said patrols and visibility in the area have been increased as a result.
“It’s a very, very active case,” the sheriff said.
A police officer with knowledge of the conversation with Kumar’s family, said they were “devastated” and making their way to Troy from different parts of the United States.
A note was placed on the door of the store where Kumar was killed indicating it would remain closed until next week.