Police are following leads they have received from the public about the Tuesday shooting death of a 21-year-old Palestinian immigrant at a discount tire store on Plank Road.
Baton Rouge Police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said several people have called police with information about the apparent armed robbery at Tire Discount at 6970 Plank Road.
McKneely declined to elaborate but said police are working hard to find Zaharan Abu Awwad’s killer.
Abu Awwad was shot just after 7 p.m. Tuesday while working at the tire store, police have said. A customer found Abu Awwad lying on the floor behind a counter and called authorities.
By the time police arrived, Abu Awwad had already died.
The victim’s cousin, Asmar Asmar, said the shooter took money from the store’s cash register and from Abu Awwad’s pockets.
Asmar said his uncle owns the store and had opened it about three weeks ago. Abu Awwad was managing the business and was closing up for the night when he was shot and killed.
Asmar said his family owns several businesses in the area and that until Tuesday none of them had been held up. He said his family was cautious and that Abu Awwad knew if he were ever robbed to give the person what they wanted.
“Death happens to all of us,” Asmar said. “Unfortunately, it happened to him in this way.”
Asmar said his cousin was a “wonderful, inspiring young man, who smiled at everyone” and was engaged to be married.
He said his family buried Abu Awwad on Wednesday at Roselawn Memorial Park and that his cousin’s parents, who live in Jerusalem, were unable to come to the service.
Asmar said his family will reopen the tire shop on Plank Road in a few days and that a portion of the businesses proceeds will go to Abu Awwad’s mother and father.
“We are going to move on with life,” Asmar said.
As for his cousin’s killer, Asmar called the person heartless. He said he believes the shooter will be caught and that his family is cooperating with law enforcement in every way possible.
He added that his family has contributed $5,000 to add to the $2,500 reward Crime Stoppers is offering for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person responsible for Abu Awwad’s death.
Anyone with information about this incident can contact police at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP or (225) 344-7867.