JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Bundled in jackets, gloves and scarves, the same Jeffersonville community members that came to the Stop N Go on Allison Lane one month ago are back, and still mourning the loss of the store’s clerk, Praful Patel.
“He will be in our hearts forever, thank you,” said regular customer turned friend, Melissa Scull as she leaned in to hug Patel’s wife.
Patel, 49, was shot and killed inside the Jeffersonville gas station in October. He owned the Stop N Go with his wife and his son, Shyam for the last five years.
“His soul is definitely still with us, he's definitely watching over us and that's the only thing that gives us strength,” Shyam Patel told WHAS 11 News.
Patel's killer is still on the loose. Police released images taken from surveillance video that night, but with no good tips, the community is now raising money for a reward and offering up to $5,000 to anyone with information that leads to an arrest.
“I hope it loosens somebody's tongue, yeah. If I knew who it was, I would sure rat him out,” said regular customer, Paul Kleehamer.
“I still am numb to it. Somebody that you see on a regular basis, I would stop in here, say hi and just to see that person gone from your daily routine, I still feel numb to it,” said Prince Singh, who owns another Jeffersonville business and grew close to Patel over the years.
Patel elevated his store to something much more than a quick stop.
“If you went into the store and were a little short, he would just say 'oh that's okay, get it the next time,’” Kleehamer explained.
That's why this store is so beloved by the regular customers, who've been stunned by the family's resolve to keep going, opening the store again only a week after the funeral.
“It was to carry on my dad's legacy, he spent his sweat and blood in this store and I don't want it to get to waste and I just wanted to make him proud,” Patel said.
They've beefed up security, and make sure at least two people are on the clock at all times.
“We can't back down from this. We have to stand up against this,” Scully said.
That's why while this case remains open, so do the doors to this Stop N Go.
Scully and Singh are selling bumper stickers for Patel, to be purchased at Red Carpet Liquors in Jeffersonville. There is also a GoFundMe account for donations.