NEWPORT NEWS – The owner of a 7-Eleven and a store employee were killed in a shooting at the Newport News convenience store while working Wednesday night in an apparent robbery.
A customer walked into 7-Eleven in the 1400 block of Kiln Creek Parkway just before 11:46 p.m., realized something was wrong, and called 911, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said.
Officers who arrived found two men – identified as Preyas Patel, 52, of York County and Logan Edward Thomas, 35, of Newport News – on the floor of the store. suffering from gunshot wounds. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
A 7-Eleven employee who visited the store Thursday morning identified Patel as the store owner and Thomas as an employee.
Drew told news outlets outside the store Thursday afternoon that it appears 7-Eleven was burglarized at the time of the shooting. “We’re not even 24 hours away, but it feels like a robbery,” he said.
The store’s surveillance camera was working and is helping the investigation, but he declined to say what was captured in the footage. He said there would be a shooter, but police are still processing the footage and are not yet ready to release another description of the man.
“What we have right now is one person coming in and out of the business,” Drew said. “If we recognized this individual, we would already have warrants on file.”
Along with security footage from the store, police are also collecting footage from nearby homes and a strip of businesses, and asking the public for leads.
“Any little bit is what we would like to assess,” Drew said. “Anyone who may have driven through the neighborhood, who may have just visited the store in and around this time period, a little before, or people who live in this community, whatever they’ve heard or whatever what they saw.”
Patel, known to employees as “Peter,” owned 7-Eleven on Kiln Creek Parkway and another on Warwick Boulevard and Logan Place in Newport News near Harpersville Road.
An employee, who identified himself only as “Wolf”, said he was Patel’s longest-serving employee, having worked at 7-Elevens for almost six years.
“He had respect for the community and everyone here respected him,” Wolf said of Patel. “And there was no reason for that to happen. This man gave his all for everyone…What happened here, there’s just no just cause for it.
Patel would sometimes take employees to work and twice gave Wolf extra money when he was having financial trouble.
“He’s a man who took care of you – he took care of his employees,” Wolf said. “He helped me when I was down. He would give his right arm for you.
Wolf worked at the Kiln Creek store on Wednesday evening, saying nothing unusual happened before he left work just after 10 p.m.
Patel had planned to go on vacation next week and Wolf asked him if he would sign his paycheck before leaving town. “I said I had to make sure I got my paycheck, and he said, ‘Yeah, I’ll make sure you do too,'” Wolf said. We got on well.
He said Patel was a family man with at least three children, one of whom is in college, and Patel’s wife also helped run the store.
“I will miss this man,” Wolf said. “He didn’t deserve this. People need to be careful of others in their community, because there are a lot of crazy people there.
Wolf also did not know the slain employee, Thomas, but said he had worked at the store for nearly a year and was finding his calling. “He didn’t deserve this to happen,” Wolf said.
Janice Ward, 59, who worked for Patel as the Warwick Boulevard site manager until a few weeks ago, came to Kiln Creek 7-Eleven with her husband on Thursday morning. She said Patel had owned the Kiln Creek store for about 15 years. She called him a “hands-on” boss who was often in the store with his employees.
“He was a very nice person who would do anything for you,” Ward said. “He was a good boss. Never confrontational. Very good-hearted, very polite.
Other 7-Eleven officials at the store Thursday morning declined to comment on the shooting. A van responsible for cleaning the premises also arrived at the end of the morning. An employee removed several frozen pizzas from the store, saying he was taking them to another location.
Homicides are unusual in Kiln Creek, a large, well-known subdivision that straddles the Newport News and York County line off Jefferson Avenue near Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport.
7-Eleven is located in Fairway Plaza, a small but bustling strip of businesses, including dental offices and a dry cleaner.
The Newport News Police Foundation was hosting a fundraising event Thursday morning at Kiln Creek Golf Club and Resort, located just a few blocks from the site of the double shooting.
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“It’s pretty scary that something like this is happening in our neighborhood,” said Wayne Richie, 79, who has lived in Kiln Creek for decades. He does not recall any other killings in the area, he said. Most of the time, he only hears about “insignificant things” like car break-ins or kids throwing eggs.
“It’s a shock, it’s really close to my home,” said Edward Banikas, 70, who lives in the area. “I always go there for gas, for a drink, for the ATM.”
They are the city’s 11th and 12th murders of 2022, according to a local homicide spreadsheet compiled by the Daily Press and The Virginian-Pilot.
Those with information about the incident are encouraged to call the Anonymous Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or submit an anonymous tip at www.P3Tips.com.
Gavin Stone, [email protected]
Pierre Dujardin, 757-247-4749, [email protected]