CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Investigators with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say a clerk who was working alone inside a convenience was killed in cold blood in what appears to be a robbery attempt.
"The suspect walked in – from all indications it was a robbery attempt. The clerk offered no resistance whatsoever to the suspect and the suspect did shoot and kill the clerk He then fled the store," said Captain Chris Dozier. "We're extremely upset over the fact that a situation like is extremely rare. You have a clerk that offers no resistance, offers no resistance whatsoever and is a victim of a homicide."
Detectives say a customer who arrived at the store on Westinghouse Boulevard shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday found Khaled Mohamad El-Merkabaoui's body.
"We do have surveillance of what occurred inside the store, so it's very helpful to us," Capt Dozier said. "It's a tool we're using to follow up on leads and hopefully it can be instrumental in helping solve thus murder."
Police say it's troubling that the suspect killed when he wasn't threatened.
"That's the perfect descriptor - this is cold-blooded," Capt Dozier said. "Usually robbers - their goal is to get money from the store for whatever reason. If the clerks comply, then that's what happens. That's what we see for the vast majority of the crime – for robberies."
Officers are asking the public to step up and help.
"It's very rare that you see a robbery go this level of violence without resistance," Dozier said. "Who knows what his intent is to potentially do this again."
Police say they're not revealing what items the gunman stole.
"But I do know there are people out there who have information on this robbery and they need to come forward and speak to us and give us information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect," said Capt. Dozier.
Investigators say El-Merkabaoui worked at the 7-Eleven for years and was the victim of previous robberies at the store.
"He's always complied and he knows how to comply, how to cooperate in a robbery," said Capt Dozier, "so it's especially upsetting to us and makes it all the more important to get this suspect off the street."