NORTH LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities are searching for a man accused of fatally shooting the owner of a food store in North Lauderdale, who was a father of four.
A makeshift memorial now sits in front of Aunt Molly’s Food Store, near Southwest 17th Street and South State Road 7. Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives said this is where 61-year-old Ayub Ali was shot and killed during a robbery on Tuesday.
Friends of Ali said he was part of a very religious Bangladeshi family, and he leaves behind four children, two of whom survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
“It’s shocking, ’cause I would never expect that to happen to him,” said Roxana Saenc, a friend of the deceased.
“He was a very, very nice person,” said Masud Sadek, a friend of the victim. “He was very friendly with the customers. Everybody likes him in the community.”
Tamarac Fire Rescue responded to the scene, just before 1 p.m. Tuesday, and transported Ali to Broward Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Saenc said she remains in disbelief.
“For somebody to just rob him and take his life away, it’s not fair,” she said. “Especially his wife and everything. That’s not fair.”
Friends and family gathered at Ali’s home to pray, Tuesday night.
“It’s really shocking news, that somebody just shot him and he passed away,” said Reza Islam, who described the victim as like an uncle to him. “We never thought that we were gonna lose him like that.”
Joaquin Nieves was upset that his friend passed away after the robbery turned deadly.
“This man here, he was a great man. I just feel sorry for his kids,” Nieves said.
Nieves, who brought flowers to the makeshift memorial on Wednesday, had recently helped Ali’s family move to Parkland.
“I’ve known that man for a long time. He was a great man,” he said. “I moved him. I know his wife. I know his kids, his son from when they were small.”
Friends said the business owner helped anyone he could, and he was very generous.
“Everybody knows of the gentleman. He owned the business here. It was his business, been here many years,” said one man. “He helped a lot of people in this area, and he had a lot of friends.”
“He was always helpful. He always watched out for me and the kids,” said Saenc.
“I called him ‘papi’ all the time because he was like my father,” said Nieves. “He was a good guy, you know? He was a good guy; he helped anybody out. If anybody’s hungry, he feeds them.”
Deputies are looking for an unidentified male subject.
“If anyone knows details, they should come forward, they should tell everything because he was a good person. He was a good friend,” said another family friend.
“I don’t know what this world’s coming to, man. This is bad,” said Nieves.
Aunt Molly’s Food Store remained closed Wednesday night.
If you have any information on this homicide, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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