Modesto Store Clerk Killed in Stabbing Outside Hatch Food and Gas

MODESTO -- Customers aren't staying away from their regular Friday routine at Hatch Food and Gas, but those inside are finding it hard to man the counter there.

It's been less than 24 hours since they lost a co-worker to a killer, a 32-year-old stabbed to death just outside the business, they say, just for doing his job.

"'Show your ID. No have ID good.' Told the guy...'no good...so no buy cigarette,'" said clerk Sukhwynder Singh, relaying what led up to the fatal encounter in halting English.

According to Singh, the store's surveillance system captured images of a black car and images of the customer turned killer, who Singh says cussed out his co-worker while leaving.

The outburst apparently over being asked for an ID.

Singh says that customer returned angry, 30 minutes later just before midnight, and took the clerk's life when he walked outside.

"Paramedics responded because an employee had collapsed and they thought this to be a medical issue," said Officer Eric Schuller with Modesto police. "When they arrived on scene they found that this employee has actually been stabbed."

Police are not releasing the clerk's name pending notification of family, but friends at the store say he was a husband and father who had only been on the payroll here for one month in hopes of supporting his family back in India.

"He's a hard worker, hard-working nice guy...no problems, very calm, everything, he never was threatening, never yelled at a customer," said Monica Rodriguez, a Hatch Food and Gas clerk. "He was a real good guy."

Investigators are turning to the public to find justice for that real good guy.

"We would like the public's help," Schuller said. "If there's anybody out there who heard anything or has heard anything since we would appreciate them to contact the Modesto Police Department so they can help us out here."

"It's just a very sad situation what happened to him because nobody deserves that over something so small," Rodriguez said.