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“They Didn’t Have To Kill Him,” Say Friends Of Slain Party Store Owner

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – Dozens of people were immediately drawn to the party store to share in the grief of losing a beloved community member and business owner.

Cards that read “I love you” and “I miss you” were laid along side other mementos in front of the Moon Lite Party Store.

A former cashier at the store,  Andrew Meyers, was hired on at age 14 and worked at Moon Lite throughout his adolescence. He says the owner was a man with heart of gold:

“It’s very, very hard. It’s mind shocking. Hard to take in because they didn’t have to kill him – he would have just been like – ‘take it you need it more than I do,” he said.PartyStore Sign(KLarson)

Christine Derrey was laying fresh flowers by the Moon Lite Party Store’s entrance on Harper Avenue north of 14 Mile. She says this is a true tragedy telling WWJ’s Kathryn Larson that you don’t find people like him anymore, describing him as a man who’d give you the shirt off his back.

“It’s shocking,” said Derrey. “I’m … very sad and disgusted that people would actually come in here and shoot first before telling him what they wanted – because he literally would have just given it to them. They did not have to kill him, they came in here to murder him, that’s just how it appears, if anyone knows Basil, he would have just given it to you. He wasn’t a fighter. He just survived cancer.”

Police are not releasing the name, but several people who know the store owner say he was referred to as “Sweet Basil” and was known in the neighborhood for being a survivor and beating the odds in his fight with cancer.

“He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, he was very, very ill and his chances of surviving was kind of shaky at one point and he actually did very well … only to be taken out like this … it’s not right,” she said.

Paul Mouk, is owner of Detroit Pub, and a friend of the slain store owner.

PartyStoreMoonLite(KLarson)Mouk says the victim was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago:

“He was diagnosed with … throat cancer and we did a golf outing for him, and helped his family out,” said Mouk. “Just a great guy there is not one person, I guarantee, who could say anything bad about him.”

Mouk says they’re offering $3,000 in addition to whatever Crime Stoppers offers –for information that leads to an arrest.

The incident unfolded around 11 p.m. Friday at the Moon Lite Party Store on Harper Avenue, just north of 14 Mile Road in Clinton Township.

“Three suspects entered the business and subsequently a fatal shot was fired at the clerk during a robbery,” Lieutenant Dan Dohring told WWJ’s Kathryn Larson.

The victim’s identity was not immediately released, although reports indicate the man was in his 50s.

The crooks then ransacked the business, taking an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register before fleeing the scene.

All three suspects were described as black males. The suspects were dressed in dark clothing and wore masks that partially covered their faces, but investigators are hoping someone will be able to recognize the suspects from their eyes. [PHOTOS]

Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

Anyone with information or who may recognize the suspects is urged to contact police at 586-493-7802 or 586-493-7845, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

A prayer vigil is being held tonight at 6 p.m. at the party store. The owner leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

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