LONGS, SC (WMBF) - Flowers with a black ribbon have been placed on the door of the Sun House convenience store. As customers mourn the loss of 40-year-old clerk Bala Paruchuri, they begin to prepare a petition.
"That's the reason I'd always stop, was because of him," David Clark said.
Residents say it's hard to connect with someone when it's just an "in and out" experience, but they'll tell you, Bala Paruchuri bonded with everybody.
"You know he was family, he was part of our family, part of this community. and was loved, is loved, will always be loved," Casey Stiltner said.
"He kind of looks out for you, you come in here a little short, 15, 20 cents, and he lets you go, what not. he's a very good guy, we're going to miss him around here," Roger Gore added.
Residents say it is unbearable to think he was killed in cold blood, even though police say he gave the two men the money they wanted.
"There was no need to do anything to Bala, they got their money, and then they kill him. For what? For meanness, for hatefulness, well they've stirred a lot of anger with the people out here, and the death penalty is too good for them," Bobby Long said.
"For the men who killed him - I hope the cops find him before this community does," Stiltner explained.
Residents say they are fed up. In area stores, there is a petition of signatures of people begging for answers and more law enforcement.
Some say losing someone as caring, hardworking and as genuine as Bala is the last straw, and they're speechless.
"You got good people in the world, people that are helping you out in your neighborhood, and this happens. What could you say?" Christopher Moody asked.
"You hear about it but you don't think it will be that close to home," David Clark explained.
"I don't really want to look behind the counter knowing what happened," Stiltner said. Police held a news conference on Bala's murder Thursday afternoon. They said they have been hearing so much concern from the community, and they are determined to seek justice.
"He treated everybody the same, you couldn't ask for no body no better," Clark said.
Police are still investigating and believe some one knows something about this case. The Sun House Corporation and the ATF are now
for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.
If you know anything at all you are urged to call the Horry County Police Department.