Customers and employees at a Lee County convenience store are in disbelief after the store's owner and his wife died in a murder suicide.
Neighbors in this quiet subdivision in Clemmons, North Carolina were concerned Monday morning at the site of crime scene investigators at this well kept home.
Inside paramedics found 43-year-old Hemang Patel and 39-year-old Alpa Patel both suffering from gunshot wounds. They died at the hospital.
Hemang Patel was traveling from Lee County where he owned A&J to Clemmons, North Carolina where he lived with his wife and two kids.
Nearly 500 miles away at A&J Foodmart on U.S. 19 the deaths of the Patels have shocked employees and customers.
"He was a great person," said Alyssa Lawson, who manages the store. "He helps anybody he can. Anybody who comes around in here, he always plays around with them."
"He always really nice. Very friendly. He would make friends with his customers," said customer Tiffany Smith.
Right now investigators with the Forsyth County Sheriff's department are treating the case as a murder suicide. But they say they aren't sure though who fired the gun.
Hemang, who was known to friends as "Ham" would often commute from Leesburg to North Carolina where moved in 2009 and owned another store.
"It's a real shock. He's young just like me. A nice guy," said Dinod Patel, who lived next door to Hemang.
He says he sold his home in Leesburg three months ago and was looking at selling the store to be with his family in North Carolina. He never saw a problem with the Patels.
One of the Patel's two teenaged children was home at the time of the shooting but wasn't hurt. Detectives are talking to him and collecting evidence to piece together what went wrong.
Investigators recovered .45 caliber handgun from the home belonging to Hemang Patel.
He has had run ins with the law here. He was arrested in 2009 on illegal gambling charges when deputies in Dougherty County raided two A & J convenience stores.
A candle light vigil is planned for Thursday at 8 outside A&J Foodmart at the corner of US 19 and Kinchafoonee Creek Road.
News release from the Forsyth County (NC) Sheriff's Office
Persons Injured in Shootings Have Died
WINSTON-SALEM – The two individuals who were injured as a result of a shooting on July 9th, 2012 on Barrington Oaks Drive, Clemmons, NC have both died as a result of the injuries sustained.
Post mortem examinations will be conducted on both individuals as Sheriff's Investigators continue their investigation.
Sheriff's Investigators executed a search warrant on July 9th, 2012 at the residence where the shootings occurred whereby a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and two spent .45 caliber casings were seized. Records indicate the handgun was purchased by Mr. Patel in the state of Georgia in 2010.
The investigation into the circumstances and events leading up to the shootings continues to be investigated by Sheriff's Investigators. Anyone with information regarding this incident is requested to contact the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office at (336) 727-2112 or Crimestoppers at (336) 727-2800.
The sheriff sent this release Monday--
CLEMMONS – On 07-09-12 at 6:10 a.m., the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) responded to a shooting at 6186 Barrington Oaks Drive, Clemmons, NC. Deputies arrived on the scene where they found two persons inside the residence with life threatening gunshot wound injuries.
EMS personnel transported both subjects to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for medical treatment where both are listed in critical condition.
The two individuals have been identified as Hemang Mahendra Patel, 43 year old male, and his wife, Alpa Vishnu Patel, 39 year old female. The Patels are both residents of the home where the shooting occurred.
Based on preliminary information gathered, Sheriff's Investigators are not searching for other individuals involved in this incident. At the time of this Media Release, Sheriff's Investigators are on the crime scene where a search warrant has been executed in an effort to collect evidence and process the scene.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is requested to contact the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office at (336) 727-2112 or Crimestoppers at (336) 727-2800.