Tuesday, July 10, 2012
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With ribbons and a sign, employees, friends and family stated that they plan a candlelight vigil for Hemang and Alpa Patel, the owners of A&J’s convenience store in Lee County on U.S. Highway 19 South. The couple died in a reported murder-suicide at their Clemmons N.C. home Monday.
Leesburg Hemang and Alpa Patel, owners of A&J's convenience store on U.S. Highway South in Lee County, were killed Monday in what authorities in North Carolina are describing as a murder-suicide.
A manager at the store confirmed that the couple had died from gunshot wounds inflicted at their home in North Carolina. The store will remain open, she said.
Sherri Klatt, a customer at A&J's Tuesday afternoon, said the Patels were "wonderful people who will be missed."
The Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal is reporting that the Patels were found in the bedroom of their Clemmons, N.C., home shortly after 6 a.m. Monday. Alpa Patel, 39, died at 9 p.m., about seven hours after her 43-year-old husband died.
Chief Deputy Brad Stanley told the Journal that the preliminary investigation and the evidence indicated the shootings were a murder-suicide. Detectives had not determined who shot whom and the case was still open, he said, but investigators "believe the participants in this shooting have been identified." He told the Journal that authorities were not looking for any other suspects.
The Journal reported that a .45-caliber semi-automatic that Hemang Patel had bought and two .45-claiber shell casings were found at the scene. The newspaper said the couple's teenage son was in the house when the shootings occurred and called 911. The Patels, who operated a store in Forsyth County, N.C., as well as Lee County, had been residing in Clemmons since 2009, the newspaper reported.