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Elkhart arrested as suspect in convenience store double shooting

A 28-year-old man has been arrested on a preliminary charge of murder as a suspect in a shooting Sept. 5.

Posted on Sepa. 6, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Sepp. 6, 2013 at 6:38 p.m.

abarbazon@etruth.com

ELKHART — Police arrested an Elkhart man as a suspect hours after a double homicide in the southeast side of the city.

Kevin Moore, 28, of Elkhart, was arrested at about midnight Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Elkhart police station on a preliminary charge of murder, police said in a press release Friday morning.

Moore had been arrested previously in Elkhart County for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and driving without an operator’s license.

Police officers were sent at about 9:30 a.m. to Saleh’s Market, 401 Middlebury St., on reports of a shooting. Police said Thursday they were looking for two or more suspects, and as of Friday would not comment on whether they are looking for other suspects.

Two employees — Jagtar Bhatti, 55, and Pawan Singh, 20 — were pronounced dead at the scene. John White, Elkhart County coroner, said each of the men died from a single gunshot wound. White said both deaths have been ruled homicides.

A part-time worker who had been in the kitchen at the convenience store discovered that the two men had been shot and called 911 for help. Bill Sinclair, who has been working at Saleh’s since 2003, said the Bhatti and Singh were “like family” to him.

Friends, family and customers gathered outside the store Thursday to watch as police searched the area for suspects and more information about the shooting. Onlookers recounted memories of Bhatti and Singh, describing them as generous people who sometimes helped out customers when they could not afford to buy food.

Reggie Kelly, who lives near the store, said Singh would let him stay in the store and they would talk often and listen to music. Sometimes Singh would let Kelly help him carry merchandise into the store.

“This was a situation that could have been avoided,” he said.

The store reopened Friday morning and was busy again with customers going in and out. Neighbors and people who knew the victims wrote messages on one of the store’s walls. Others left balloons, candles and teddy bears.

Dave Almanaseer, co-owner of the building where the store is located, said surveillance cameras were installed in the store a few days ago, but they have not been fully installed.

However, Almanaseer said he did not feel scared to reopen the store.

Nearby schools — Elkhart Central High School, Mary Beck Elementary, the Tipton Street Center and the school at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church — were placed on lockdown briefly as the investigation unfolded.

Elkhart Truth reporter Tim Vandenack contributed to this story.




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