SACRAMENTO, CA — Simranjit Singh, 21, a gas station attendant hailing from Mohali in the Indian state of Punjab, has been killed by four bullet wounds to the chest.
According to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, an employee was cleaning up the parking lot around the station, and allegedly got into an altercation with three intoxicated men who were loitering on the premises.
One of the men allegedly punched the employee, who went inside the station to call 911. Singh, who was in the parking lot, was then approached by the three men, one of whom shot him dead.
Sheriff Department spokesman Sgt. Tony Turnbull said that there was no evidence to indicate the incident was a hate crime, or that suspects intended to rob the store.
Singh was shot with a handgun multiple times in the upper torso. The shooter had exited a vehicle in order to commit the crime.
Alexander Lopez, 40, was arrested a day after the murder for his involvement in the shooting of Singh. He has been charged on an open count of murder and is being held at the Sacramento County Jail. He is ineligible for bail.
Still at large are Rodolfo Zavala, 23, and Ramon Zavala, 15, also believed to be involved in Singh’s murder. The Sheriff’s Department reports that both men are reportedly armed and dangerous.
The police believe that Ramon Zavala is the shooter. Lopez is nevertheless being charged with an open count of murder.
An open count of murder indicates that the degree of murder–first, second, or third degree–has not yet been decided.
Singh’s co-worker Misbah said that the deceased victim was taking out boxes from the gas station convenience store to the trash area when he was approached by the three men.
“Simran didn’t say one word to them,” said Misbah, who started working at the store about a year and a half ago, about the same time Singh started working there. “I don’t know why they killed him,” she said emotionally.
Singh had just started to work the night shift about a month ago after enrolling for classes in engineering at nearby American River College.
He leaves behind three sisters.