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Indian Convenience Store Clerk in Mississippi Shot During Daylight Robbery Dies

Indian Convenience Store Clerk in Mississippi Shot During Daylight Robbery Dies

  • Paramvir Singh, 33, who worked at a Chevron gas station, arrived in the U.S. from Punjab over a year ago.

As the nation was remembering all those who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, an Indian man working in a convenience store at a gas station in Tupelo, Mississippi, was shot during a daylight robbery. Paramvir Singh, 33, was carried to the North Mississippi Medical Center emergency room “in grave condition,” as reported by the Daily Journal. He was pronounced dead about six hours later.

At a Sept. 17 candlelight vigil held at the location where Singh was shot, “hundreds gathered outside the gas station where a memorial of flowers and signed cards were placed in front of a large photograph of Singh,” the Daily Journal reported. Singh had arrived in the U.S. from Kapurthala, Punjab, just 14 months ago. Gagan Singh, a friend and relative, told the paper that Singh was “a beautiful soul and great human being with lots of dreams.” He said Singh came to the U.S. to “just to get a better life,” and added: “You know, that’s why everybody comes to America, to do better. He came for the American dream,” he added. “But his dream was taken away.”

Steve Holland, president of Holland Funeral Directors also addressed the vigil as did State Sen. Chad McMahan. “We’ve got every kind of person here known to man,” Holland said, glancing around the parking lot. “This is what I think the end of time is going to look like — all kinds of people together, perfectly, in brotherhood and sisterhood.” McMahan encouraged those in attendance to ask one another’s names and to hold a stranger’s hand. “We’re all neighbors in Mississippi, who choose to live in Mississippi,” he said. “We’re all hurting. Paramvir was a good person, a really nice, decent person. He just wanted to work in this country, meet a wife and have a business. Don’t we all have a right to go to work and come home safe no matter what you do?”

Two days after Singh’s murder, Chris Copeland, 26, of Tupelo was formally charged with capital murder, the Daily Journal report said. “During his initial appearance [at the Tupelo Municipal Court], Judge Jay Weir ordered him held without bond,” the report added. Tupelo city prosecutor Richard Babb called the crime “outrageous, cold and monstrously barbaric,” and called Copeland “a danger to the community,” the Daily Journal report continued.

Police arrested Copeland with the help of footage caught on a security video from inside the Chevron Food Mart. In the 1.30-minute video clip, Singh can be seen sitting inside the store when Copeland entered the grocery store, the Daily Journal report said, citing Tupelo Police detective Wes Kloac’s testimony in court. 

It showed a man wearing distinctive clothing walking into the store around 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 11. Kloac said the suspect can be seen pulling a handgun out of his waistband and pointing it at Singh.“The clerk is very gracious and even gave him a stack of money he didn’t ask for,” Kloac said, according to the Daily Journal. “He opened the safe for him and gave him a bank bag.” After ordering Singh to the floor, Copeland then jumped over the counter, walked up behind Singh and, at point blank range, executed him,” Kloac said.

Before the robbery, Kloac said Copeland was seen inside the Dollar General store across the street. On their security camera, he could be seen wearing the same olive hoodie, yellow T-shirt and colorful pajama bottoms, he said, adding that an employee at that store recognized him and identified him to the police. Copeland has prior felony convictions for burglary of an inhabited dwelling and two counts of burglary of an auto.

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