MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md. (WJLA) - A beloved Montgomery Village 7-Eleven clerk was stabbed to death shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday at the hands of a violently deranged customer, police say.
Abdul Ghaffar, 63, of Gaithersburg, and a fellow co-worker were pushing through the thankless graveyard shift when police say Shaun King, 36, walked through the front door. In what detectives are describing as a random act of unprovoked violence, King allegedly slit Ghaffar's throat, chin and wrists inside the convenience store located along the 9000 block of Snouffer School Road.
Ghaffar's co-worker sprinted to the parking lot and dialed 911. Responding squad cars spotted King strolling out the front door. Court documents report the 5' 6", 160 lb. suspect's hands, sweatshirt, pants, shoes and sunglasses were covered in blood. Once handcuffed, police searched King and located a box cutter in his sweatshirt pocket. The knife too was covered in blood.
Montgomery County Police Dispatch Audio:
MCPD Officer #1: "He's got blood on his hands."
MCPD Officer #2: "Start the medic unit. (Garbled)...stab wounds. Serious injuries."
MCPD Officer #3: "Everyone can come here. I have the suspect with the knife on him, covered in blood."
By sunrise, customers embarking on their morning commute were stunned to find a swarm of officers blocking-off the parking lot, and crime technicians placing thick brown paper over the store's windows.
"I can honestly say he was a friend of mine. I actually just had a conversation with him last night around 10 o'clock," longtime customer Jacob Osteen remarked.
Osteen, a student at Towson Univeristy, has long frequented the 7-Eleven, enjoying donuts, sub sandwiches and late night chats with Ghaffar.
"A lot of people like to complain about work and how hard it is, but he's one of those people that never did. You just knew he was really trying," Osteen added.
"He was all about his work and money so he could provide for his family so they could come over here," Ghaffar's nephew Mohammad Rana said. "It's just crazy."
Rana, who spent Thursday morning huddled with family members in the 7-Eleven parking lot, told reporters the 63-year-old moved to America with his wife in 2009. He had five daughters and two sons.
"His youngest son is actually in the process of becoming a doctor. He [Ghaffar] was paying for all of that so he could become a doctor here [in the U.S.], that was his goal," Rana added.
Police say the facility is equipped with security cameras, which captured the murderous attack, and at around 4 p.m. Thursday, the 24-hour store re-opened its doors to customers.
But customers are still in shock at the death of Ghaffar, whom they say was a nice guy. Relatives add that he was a devoted husband and father of seven.
"His youngest son is actually in the process of becoming a doctor. [Ghaffar] was paying for all of that so he could become a doctor here, that was his goal," said his nephew, Mohammad Rana.
With no known enemies and known as a friendly man, the question of "Why?" is still being asked around here.
According to Maryland District and Circuit Court records, King has been incarcerated at least seven times before. His crimes include assault, burglary, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. A November 2012 arrest resulted in jail time and subsequent probation, which police say he most certainly violated the terms of when he stabbed Ghaffar.
Police say the 36-year-old has so far denied any knowledge of the brutal killing.