NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A well-known store owner is dead after being kidnapped and shot in Newark, and the killers remained on the loose Friday night.
Jose Flaco Rivas, 26, arrived around 7 a.m. Friday to open up Yesi Supermarket at 325 Osborne Terrace when a car pulled up and several men in the vehicle got out and grabbed him, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
A good Samaritan discovered Rivas half a mile away in front of a house on Hunterdon Street, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.
Rivas was lying in the street and bleeding from a gunshot wound, Jones reported.
“I told him ‘calm down, they’re coming,’” the good Samaritan said. “Next thing you know the police came, the ambulance came, they cut his clothes off, and put him in the ambulance and took him to the hospital.”
Rivas was taken to University Hospital in Newark, but was pronounced dead in the ambulance, officials said.
As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, flowers, candles and messages stood Friday night at the foot of a roll-up gate where Rivas was kidnapped.
“How come all the good people always die and the dirty, rotten people keep on living?” the victim’s friend Barbara Hedgespeth said.
“He was just there for everybody,” said Dina Blackwell of Newark. “I don’t understand — this is a senseless killing.”
Rivas’ cousin, Alfredo Rivas, said the deli owner moved to Newark from the Dominican Republic at the age of 8.
“He doesn’t have any enemies,” Alfredo Rivas said. “I can tell you people love him.”
Years of working in his family’s various grocery businesses allowed Jose Rivas to save up enough money to buy this deli of his own on Osborne Terrace.
“He’s a person who came from the bottom – having nothing – to have his store and gradually achieve something,” Alfredo Rivas said.
Family and friends said Rivas stuck to a strict daily routine opening his deli at 7 a.m. sharp.
“He is very systematic on the way he do things,” Alfredo Rivas said. “A person like that is easy to follow.”
Police Friday night were not saying whether surveillance cameras captured images of the killer. Investigators went from block to block checking for footage.
Investigators won’t say how much money was taken from Rivas, but sources told CBS 2 his house key and cellphone were missing.
Family and friends said Rivas, who never married and had no kids, would spoil his many nephews and nieces and treat the neighborhood kids who would come in to his store.
When people came up short at the counter, he would often say pay what you can.
“He would give you the shirt off of his back,” said Michelle Whitaker of Newark. “I just don’t understand why what happened has happened.”
Police Friday evening were guarding the victim’s home, Sloan reported.
Earlier Friday, police hauled away what neighbors said was Rivas’ Hummer, which was found next to his bodega.
The investigation is ongoing. Police believe robbery was the motive, Jones reported.
Friends raised $5,000 in reward money for information to solve the murder mystery.
This shooting is the 58th homicide in the city this year.
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