A police officer walks past the entrance of Sammy's Food Mart where Rafiq Salim 'Sammy' Soufan's body was found in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Police responded to a call reportng that shots had been fired at the store around 12:40 a.m. and found Soufan dead at the scene.
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Telegram photo / Emma Tannenbaum

A police officer walks past the entrance of Sammy's Food Mart where Rafiq Salim 'Sammy' Soufan's body was found in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Police responded to a call reportng that shots had been fired at the store around 12:40 a.m. and found Soufan dead at the scene.

Owner of Sammy's Food Mart found dead at store

By Brie Handgraaf

12 Comments | Leave a Comment

A well-known South Rocky Mount business owner reportedly was gunned down while closing up his store early Tuesday morning, leading neighbors to build a make-shift memorial at the store, Sammy’s Food Mart.

Police responded shortly before 1 a.m. to a shooting at the store at 1100 Old Wilson Road. Officers reportedly found Rafiq “Sammy” Salim Soufan, 47, dead in the doorway of the store.

Neighbors said they heard that Soufan had shot one of the suspects, but police Capt. Laura Fahnestock said that was not the case.

“We have no information that can support that,” she said. “We have nobody in custody.”

Police canvassed the area Tuesday.

“Our officers have been passing out fliers to obtain information on this case,” she said. “We will follow up on all leads.”

She said investigators are looking for two unknown suspects driving an older model gray Toyota Camry with three hubcaps and one black steel rim. Fahnestock said investigators do not have any video surveillance of the store to release.

Neighbor Tim White said he was helping Soufan in the store Monday night.

“Most of the time I stay over there until he locks the door, but I left about 10:30 last night,” he said. “I didn’t see nothing suspicious or nothing.”

White said he was shocked when he heard about the murder — Rocky Mount’s second for 2011.

“Everybody was cool with him,” he said. “I don’t know why somebody would do this.”

He speculated it had to have been someone from outside the close-knit neighborhood surrounding the store.

“It’s got to be somebody outside,” he said. “It had to. It just had to.”

More than 100 people gathered across the street after reportedly finding out from early morning phone calls or messages on facebook.com.

“There are a lot of people out here,” White said. “They are from all over South Rocky Mount, Little Raleigh, all over. He was a good man.”

Charles Davis played music sung by Aretha Franklin from his stereo as he remembered his friend.

“I’ve known him for 35 years, and he was the best guy,” Davis said. “They didn’t have to do Sammy like that. He’d have given you the shirt off his back.”

Davis said Soufan’s generosity made him integral to the community.

“He was a fixture of the community ... a pillar,” he said. “He never turned nobody down if they was short (on money).”

A woman who would identify herself only as “Da Twin” said the outpouring of support from neighbors at the scene exemplified how the community felt about Soufan — who reportedly leaves behind a wife and four children.

“He was the man. You’ve got to be to get all these people out here,” she said. “Somebody knows who did this. They better catch them before the street catch them."

Soufan’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Greenville for an autopsy. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 977-1111 or crimestoppers@rockymountnc.gov.

Comments

Sammy's Family

Now is the time to stepup to the plate and help Sammy's family. That wife and children can't live on platitudes and sorrow. Let's see if the community leaders/preachers champion their cause for the next several weeks.

Somebody needs to step up and

Somebody needs to step up and give up this info because that was Sammy we lost.

FOR SAMMY: WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU

my family and i had known Sammy for many years and felt like he was part of our family...We will miss him greatly...Sammy was the BEST people you could ever know...i truly hope that when these individuals are apprehended that they receive the harshest punishment allowable by law...and they ought to pray that the law finds them first before the community gets to them....street justice will show NO MERCY....

RIP SAMMY

IT IS SAID THAT A MAN'S WORTH ISN'T MEASURED BY HIS RICHES, BUT BY THE THE PEOPLE HE LOVED AND WHO LOVED HIM. MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE FAMILY AND COMMUNITY. THEY HAVE TAKEN SAMMY PHYCISALLY FROM US BUT MENTALLY THE MEMORIES LIVE ON AND EMOTIONALLY THE LOVE AND RESPECT WE FEEL FOR SAMMY WILL ALWAYS CONTINUE. RIP SAMMY

senseless death

On March8,20011 one who has worked in this neighborhood had his life snuffed out as he was preparing to go home to his family. Now,there is a widow with four children that have no husband and father. All kinds of expressions were shown. Many people came from far and near. If this kind of love was shown everyday,what a wonderful community this would be. Thanks to the officers, and media for your endless work. Thanks for the one(s) who knows what happened stepping up to help solve these kinds of hideous crimes.It is a struggle just to keep up with our daily activities.Stop the killing, and learn more constructive ways of dealing with issues.

SAMMY مات Submitted by SILKIE SILK on March 9, 2011 - 5:12am.

SAMMY HAS HELP ME AND MY FAMILY FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS WHETHER COURT ADVICE OR EVERYDAY LIVING.THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH SAMMY'S IN ROCKY MOUNT.IF HE WAS NOT A CARING AND FUN PERSON HIS DEATH WOULD NOT RING OUT IN ALL FOUR CORNERS OF ROCKY MOUNT AND BEYOND.SAMMY HELP RAISE A COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE AND KNOW NOT BAD PEOPLE IN THAT AREA LIKE SOME MAY THINK BECAUSE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO THE POOR HOUSE THERE IS KNOW ONE PERFECT PERSON.

reminder of Mr. Holloman

also brings to mind Mr. Holloman who was killed at his store on a South Rocky Mount road. was it in the news recently that his killer has not been dealt justice yet?.. many years after the killing?

same area as gasoline attack?

is Sammy's place within just a few blocks of where another store owner was attacked in his store by someone dousing him with gasoline,setting him on fire, and killing him about a dozen years ago? or, is that a few blocks over? either way, same general area. senseless. Hope we can read tomorrow where the killers get found.

"They better catch them

"They better catch them before the street catch them"... Let the street catch them!!!!

murder of store owner

What is going on in Rocky Mount? Can't people make a living here without getting killed, and we wonder why people don't want to bring companies here to hire people, could this be the reason why?

OMG

RIP SAMMY! YOU WILL BE MISSED!

WHY

THAT WAS MY SAM BEANIE AND I LOVE HIM TO DEATH! IM AT A LOST FOR WORDS MY HEART HURTS!! THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER LIKE HIM!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU SAMMY RIP

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