Neighbors say murdered store owner was “generous” and “compassionate”

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MILWAUKEE -- Neighbors say a store owner killed in an armed robbery Friday night, December 28th was a fixture in their community, calling him "generous" and "well-liked."

Police say the victim is 53-year-old Fawzi Abu-Hamdan, the owner of the Zara Food Store at 32nd and Brown.  Neighbors say they knew him by his nickname "Fred."

Kenneth Petty lit a candle Saturday afternoon and left it on the store's doorstep, along with a handwritten card.  Petty says "Fred" was popular in the neighborhood for giving kids free candy and chips, and accepting credit from customers when they couldn't pay.

"He was a great man to the community.  He helped take care of us.  If somebody needed something and didn't have the money at the time, he was a compassionate person," Petty said.

Forensic investigators were inside the store Saturday.  Police say an armed and masked man entered the store around 9:00 p.m. Friday and tried to rob it.  A struggle ensued and the suspect shot and killed Hamdan.  The suspect fled in a dark colored SUV.

J.P. Perry says his family has known the store owner for at least 20 years.  Perry says the store has been robbed before, and he hopes one of its security cameras captured video that will help catch the suspect.

"He was a good man.  He did everything he could for the people. My condolences go out to his family," Perry said.

So far, no arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.