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'Going to miss him a lot': Shurlington Package Store customers remember beloved assistant manager killed in triple shooting

Customers say Pinal Kumar Patel always had a smile on his face.

MACON, Ga. — The Bibb County Sheriff's Office says they're looking for four men driving a dark-colored car who they believe killed Pinal Kumar Patel last week.

The triple shooting in Patel's driveway in south Bibb County also sent his wife and daughter to the hospital. They had just picked Patel up from his job as an assistant manager at Shurlington Package Store on Shurling Drive.

Customers at the store even had a nickname for Patel. They called him "Mr. Pete.' It's safe to say Mr. Pete had a lot of fans.

"I'll tell you, he was an outstanding guy," said Robert Maine, who stops in almost daily.

That's how many customers at the store remember Patel.

"So friendly and so kind to everybody that comes here, so I was really saddened by the news once I heard it," said Erica Hill.

Customers say Patel was quick to crack a joke.

"Every time I'd pull up to the window, he'd tell my wife, 'Hey mama!'" laughed Raymond Harris.

They say he made you feel right at home in the store.

"Very good man. Very good man, just as nice as he wants to be," Harris said.

If you didn't have the money to shot, he'd even spot you some cash.

"I said, 'Hey look, man. I've only got but a dollar and a half. I need about three of them,'" Maine recalled. "He'd give it to me and say, 'Bring my money back.' And then when I came back the next time, if I didn't have it, he wouldn't say nothing."

For hours Tuesday, every customer leaving the store had a good thing to say.

"He wanted customers to be treated fairly," said Anthony Andrews.

"Such a pioneer to the community. He's always been such a great guy," Hill recalled.

The main thing people had to say: "Why?"

"I just don't understand why anyone would want to do something like that to that man there. I just don't understand it," Harris said.

"I'm going to miss him a lot. I know that," Maine said.

Patel's son Pujan spoke with 13WMAZ Tuesday afternoon. He told us his mother and sister are doing okay. They're simply asking for prayers.

The Bibb County Sheriff's Office says they are no longer considering this a gang-related shooting. They are still investigating whether the men followed the Patels home, and whether they believe the shooters targeted the family.

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