CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and the FBI are investigating after a gas station clerk was shot and killed during a robbery in west Charlotte Monday.
The shooting happened around 3:15 a.m. at a Shell Station on Freedom Drive near Alleghany Street.
CMPD said when officers got to the gas station, they found Ismael Doumbia, 50, suffering from a gunshot wound inside the store.
>> We first updated WSOCTV news app users with a notification just before 5 a.m. Monday that a gas station clerk had been shot and killed. Download the WSOCTV news app for your smartphone and get updates on this developing story as they come in.
MEDIC transported the victim to Atrium Health Carolina's Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries.
Authorities released photos and video of the suspect Monday night.
(Photo and video: CMPD)
Channel 9 learned Doumbia was going to celebrate his 51st birthday this week.
Friends who spoke to Channel 9 said Doumbia was originally from Africa and continues to send money to family there.
Channel 9's Gina Esposito spoke with the owner of the Shell Gas Station, who said he is heartbroken by the act of violence at his store. He said Doumbia has been working for him since 2002 and leaves behind a wife and son.
Matthew Williams said Doumbia was the one who got him the job a few years ago.
"He would wake up every night to be here on time, to come to work seven days for years," said Williams who thinks of Doumbia as a mentor in life.
"He put his time here to make a better life for him and his family so as an older person that was an inspiration for a young man like me," Williams said. "I deff loved him and I know everybody here loved him too."
Neighbor Saundra Bailey and many others were shocked when they learned about his death. The nighborhood had grown to know and love Doumbia over the nearly two decades he worked at the gas station.
"My heart is heavy. My heart is really heavy," said Bailey. "Just straight murder? You're going to come and take somebody's child's life? This is something the Enderly Park neighborhood will not tolerate."
Monday night, several people in the community held a vigil in his memory.
There were dozens of stories about Doumbia's kindness and the impact he made on his customers.
His family said the support from the community has been comforting during this time.
"When we heard they were coming out and doing this for us, we really appreciated it," Bintou Kamissoku said. "He was a great father. He just killed our heart. We don't know what to say."
Police said an initial investigation indicates the shooting stemmed from an armed robbery.
Authorities said Doumbia was working the overnight shift when a gunman came in to rob the store and shot the clerk before fleeing the scene.
Officers roped off the lot and worked under the glare of halogen lights to collect evidence, but their best leads may come from surveillance video.
The owner said he is doing everything he can to help the investigation, including handing over surveillance footage from inside the store. He said there were at least five shots that went off.
The video shows the suspect wearing a black mask, a blue striped hoodie, and light colored jeans.
No arrests have been made.
Several people told Channel 9 that Doumbia got into an altercation with someone a couple days ago and they wonder if that may have something to do with his death.
CMPD and the FBI are offering a combined $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.
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