Community shows compassion at 2 vigils for slain clerk

FORESTDALE, AL (WBRC) - By Sherea Harris

FORESTDALE, AL (WBRC) - Authorities are still searching for the person who shot and killed Don Patel during a robbery at a Jet Pep on Highway 78 in Forestdale. And they hope someone recognizes the suspect in surveillance video from inside the store.

Authorities are also searching for the person who drove a car for the suspect, which is an older model, white Chevrolet Caprice.

Patel's cousin spoke about the murder as the community attended a prayer vigil for 25-year-old victim.

People cried, lit candles, and prayed at the vigil.

Jack Patel says his cousin, Don, was more like a son to him. Jack has worked at the Jet Pep with him since the family bought it eight months ago.
     
"To imagine myself here without him.... that will be the hardest thing for me," said Jack Patel. "He must be caught, must be caught. He needs to realize what he has done. For a couple hundred dollars, he's made a loss of millions and millions of dollars."

Keith Alexander attended as well. He said, "We are hoping the praying works and somebody comes forth to let the family know what's going so family can get closure. It was a senseless murder."

Nearby at The Rock Church, dozens more people gathered to pray for the victim's family.

Despite the incident, the family will continue to run the store. It will reopen soon.

Funeral arrangements are in the process. Don Patel's body will be taken to India for burial.

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