2 Men Charged With Murder of Indian American Convenience Store Owner in Cincinnati
- Roop C. Gupta, owner of Madeira Beverage was Killed in February during an armed robbery by Willie James Attaway and Lamond Johnson.
Two men have been charged with the February 2021 murder of an Indian American convenience store owner in Cincinnati. Willie James Attaway, 30, of Cincinnati, and Lamond Johnson, 35, most recently of Cincinnati, murdered Roop C. Gupta, owner of Madeira Beverage, according to a DOJ press release.
According to the charging document, Attaway and Johnson conspired to commit five armed robberies on Feb. 8 and 9, including at Madeira Beverage which Gupta owned. The two allegedly used a firearm to commit a robbery there and then kill Gupta, 68.
Madeira Police Chief David A. Schaefer, in a statement, hoped that “the indictment brings some sense of justice and comfort to both the Gupta family and our Madeira community.” Calling Gupta’s “tragic” murder “shocking,” Schaefer assured the residents that “the safety of those who live in, work in and visit Madeira is our top priority. We invest significantly in our police department to ensure our officers have every resource necessary to perform their jobs effectively.”
Immediately after Gupta’s murder, WLWT5 reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual responsible for Gupta’s murder.” Then, almost two weeks later, the Madeira Police Department said it has received “an additional $10,000 from a Cincinnati-based business to add to ATF’s reward.”
Customer Heidi Welti started a GoFundMe page on behalf go Gupta’s wife Rekha Gupta. “We lost a beloved member of our community last night in a tragic act of violence,” Welti writes. “I started this Go Fund Me Page to allow the community to show their support for his family during this time of sorrow and grief. This money will be given to the family to assist with expenses.” So far, Welti has raised $63,426.
Neighbors and customers told WLWT5 that Gupta was not only “a respected business owner,” but their neighbor and friend. They said Gupta was known for selling lucky lottery tickets and making sure teenagers didn’t get their beer in his store. “You felt like you knew these people,” Welti told WLWT5. “They knew you. You would buy the lottery ticket, too.” Welti also set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the Gupta family.
The community also rallied around the Gupta family in 2012, WLWT5 reported, “when Gupta was shot in the stomach, also during a robbery. He survived, and a suspect was convicted and sent to prison.”
(Top photo, Roop C. Gupta, owner of Madeira Beverage, and his wife Rekha Gupta.)