MIDWEST CITY, Okla. - Darrel Mills never knew the name of the young man he saw almost every day, the one who had his cigarettes sitting on the counter when Mills made his morning stop into Gi's Convenience Store on N.E. 10th St. and Post.
"I know, when he was here, I always felt better about coming in here and seeing him," Mills said. "He always had a smile."
That man was Salman Tahir, known by regular customers as 'Sam.'
Mills learned his name Saturday morning, when he found him behind the cash register, shot in the back.
Midwest City police are looking for the man who fired that shot, caught on surveillance cameras entering the store with a handgun.
Police said Tahir complied when the man asked for the money in the registers.
But, for some reason, the suspect shot the surveillance monitor and then Tahir for good measure.
"It's crushing," said Laura Stukes, who bought candy and snacks from Tahir for two and a half years. "You look at all his friends, all his family, everybody that loves Sam and, the inside, we're all dying inside. It's not fair that this guy would come in and rob him and then shoot him."
Friends, family and former customers came together Monday to create a memorial, filled with bouquets of flowers, stuffed animals and handwritten messages to the man who touched them all.
"He was a great guy," Mills said. "This was a rare individual in the world, man, and somebody with a cold heart snuffed this guy's life."
"He was always smiling. He was happy," Stukes said. "He wanted everybody to feel like they're one person, not judge the person by their race, their color, nothing. He just wanted to get to know you."
Now, his friends are trying to help police catch the person responsible, as they distribute fliers with surveillance pictures.
Stukes is calling on her community to honor the family that lost a husband and a father.
"It's all gotta stop," she said. "People need to come together and love one another instead of putting bullets in people. We need to give back as a community. We need to give back to Sam as Sam gave to us."
Tahir's friends have set up a Facebook page in his honor.
Anyone with information is asked to call Midwest City police at 739-1306.