• Widow of beloved Charlotte business owner: ‘We miss him every day'

    By: Elsa Gillis

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Exactly one year ago, a random robbery and shooting claimed the life of a father of four who was also a prominent figure in Charlotte’s Liberian community and a business owner.

    [2nd man charged in slaying of Charlotte store owner]

    For the first time, Massaquoi Kotay’s widow sat down with Channel 9 and spoke about her loss as the family prepares to remember him this weekend.

    “We miss him every day,” Esther Kotay said. “It’s hard to forget, but I am hanging in there. When I see my kids, I mean, it makes me strong.”

    Kotay was shot and killed during an armed robbery inside his Grocery Mart on North Tryon Street. He had opened it six months earlier.

    Kotay said a friend called her the day he was killed, saying there had been a shooting around the store, but nothing more.

    Massaquoi Kotay, killed Jan. 12
    Massaquoi Kotay, killed Jan. 12

    “I call my husband’s phone over and over, but he wasn’t picking up,” Kotay said.

    She texted him, but there was no response. She said hours passed without hearing from him, so she went to the store herself to find out what was going on.

    “On my way to the store, my uncle called me. He said, ‘Where are you?’ I said, ‘I’m on my way to the store,’ ‘What are you going to do there? He’s gone already.’ I said, ‘Huh?’”

    The store the family owned is no more. Kotay said she closed it and hasn’t been back since.

    “I didn’t want to open it because more memory, and I don’t even want to go around there because it hurts,” Kotay said.

    She said every day without him is a struggle, but her children, their family and the Charlotte community have gotten her through the last year.

    “Miss him a lot, I miss him every day, hoping for him to come through the door and come home. He had only one life, and they took that life away,” Kotay said.

    The family pans to hold a vigil in his memory Friday night. They have planned a balloon release Saturday at his gravesite. 

    Desmond Black and Shalome Scott are charged with murder in connection with Kotay’s death.

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