UPDATED at 12:20 p.m. with information on how to help victim's family.
ST. LOUIS • Abdulrauf Kadir, 32, was an Ethiopian refugee, working at a Dutchtown convenience store in hopes of earning enough money to bring his wife and children from a refugee camp and here to St. Louis with him.
But during a robbery at the store Sunday afternoon, he was shot to death. On Monday, Antonio E. Muldrew, 36, who lived just a couple blocks from the store in the 3800 block of Louisiana Avenue, was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and three counts of armed criminal action.
Muldrew’s cash bail was set at $1 million.
Police say Muldrew entered the corner market at 3404 Chippewa Street near Louisiana Avenue about 3:25 p.m. Sunday and pointed a handgun at Kadir.
Muldrew shot Kadir multiple times in the head and chest, police said. Muldrew then went behind the counter and swiped cash from the cash register.
Anna Crosslin, president of the International Institute of St. Louis, said Kadir arrived here eight months ago and was working two jobs to support his family. He had been working through the family petition process to bring them over. “They lost their status with his death ... and the money to support them will now stop coming, too,” she said in an email Monday night. “A tragedy on several levels.”
Neighbor Dianne Brown, 57, said customers knew the store didn’t keep much cash on hand, and she didn’t know why anyone would target the place or Kadir for a robbery. “It’s senseless,” she said.
She said Kadir had worked at the store only for a few weeks but was very friendly and well-liked by people in the neighborhood. She duct-taped a cardboard sign saying “We will miss you” on the store window and signed it along with other neighbors and business owners.
No other sign made mention of any name for the store, which always seemed busy, neighbors said, selling snack foods and cigarettes.
Two surveillance cameras were visible on the building facade above the store’s doorway.
Brown said that on Sunday afternoon, she saw customers come out of the store and about 15 minutes later, decided to go to the store herself. That’s when she saw police at the scene.
Court documents say surveillance footage shows “the victim attempting to gain the attention of other customers that entered the store after the initial shots were fired. After approximately fifteen minutes, the defendant shot the victim in the head with another handgun at close range.”
Homicide investigators could not be reached Monday to clarify the incident.
Kadir died at the scene. Police said investigators looked at surveillance video from the store and arrested Muldrew near the crime scene after identifying him from the video.
Brown said that a neighbor went into the store during the robbery, and that Muldrew, the robber, let him take a soda from the store. The neighbor apparently didn’t know he had walked into a crime in progress, Brown said.
Brandon Baker, 26, a barber who cuts hair at Kuts by Kurts across the street, said he was friendly with Kadir. “He came over here to change his lifestyle and to take care of his family back home,” he said.
Baker and Kadir, both Muslims, talked about fasting for Ramadan and Kadir joked about trying to do so in a store that supplied snacks and ice cream.
“He always made sure he got along with everybody,” Baker said. “If people were short some change, he wasn’t hard on them. He was nice to the kids. I don’t know why someone would want to hurt him.”
Crosslin said members of the Ethiopian community were meeting with an International Institute staffer Monday night about burial arrangements. Muldrew’s criminal history includes convictions for drug possession, domestic assault and unlawful use of a weapon.
The International Institute said donations are being solicited from Ethiopians in St. Louis and from Kadir's mosque to cover funeral expenses. The International Institute is collecting donations to help Kadir's family in Nairobi, Kenya. Anyone wishing to contribute may donate through the institute's website starting Wednesday, said Anna Crosslin, the institute's president. She said the institute plans to wire the money donated in Kadir's name to his family in Africa.