Customers, community honor slain McDonald's owner

HOUSTON – Employees and friends reopened the restaurant and changed the sign in front of the McDonald's on the East Freeway near Lockwood to honor its owner. 

Carroll Oliver, 68, owned multiple McDonald's restaurants. His friends said he touched countless lives in big and small ways.

"Mr. Oliver had a heart as big as I don't know what," said Karen Page. "I was short one day. Couldn't get my breakfast. He was standing there. I said, 'I promise you I'll bring you the money the next day.' He said, 'go ahead and let her have it.'"

Customers and friends added to the memorial that grows at the spot where he lost his life during a robbery Monday morning. Police said at least two men in a white SUV were waiting for Oliver as he walked to his car to deposit money at the bank. Police said he was armed and struggled with the robbers. 

Police said someone inside the SUV fired the shot that killed Oliver. Police were searching for the killers. Investigators said it could be a current or former employee.   

Ribbons surrounded the restaurant and decorated his workers and friends. 

"Those who needed work, he helped them. He gave them an opportunity. When there were some people who don't have chances, he gave them a chance. You can't ask for anything more than that. An outstanding person," friend Robert Payton said.

A memorial took place Tuesday night at the spot where Oliver lost his life in the parking lot of his business.

"The loss of Carroll Oliver has shaken this community to its core," community activist Deric Muhammad said. "It's as if a star has fallen out of the sky. Mr. Oliver had such a giving heart that the very thing (the robbers) wanted -- the money they robbed him of -- he probably would have given it to them anyway."

Witnesses reported seeing at least two suspects. One of them is described as black, about 6 feet tall and weighing around 200 pounds. He was wearing black pants, and a black jacket with white writing or striping on the front and back side.

A photo of the suspects' SUV was released Tuesday. It appears to be a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Tahoe with custom rims.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $35,000 for information that leads to charges or an arrest in the case.

Funeral services for Oliver will be held Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church at 4000 Sumpter St., Houston 77020.