HOUSTON – Homicide detectives from the Houston Police Department said the situation that unfolded on Houston’s southwest side was a shoplifting attempt that turned into a murder investigation.
As they work to locate those responsible, the victim’s best friend tells KPRC 2 he is hoping for answers.
“I’m devastated,” said Ryan Robinson. “That’s my best friend.”
Robinson is speaking about the 34-year-old father of two, Ezenna Ukachukwu, who he identified as the man police say was gunned down at a City Gear clothing store located in the 11000 block of Fondren. The shooting happened around 7:30 p.m. Saturday night.
Robinson says Ukachukwu had recently been promoted to manager.
”He didn’t deserve this,” Robinson said.
HPD released photos of the male suspects.
One of the suspects was seen wearing a beige hoodie while the other was seen wearing a black hoodie with an image of the character Naruto on the back.
Investigators said the suspects tried to shoplift from the store, and during a confrontation with the manager, one of the suspects pulled out a gun and fired multiple rounds.
”I just saw a lot of lights. The whole parking lot was filled from here to there with police cars and a couple of ambulances and the crime scene van,” said Paula Henry, who works nearby.
Investigators said the manager was struck several times and pronounced dead at the scene.
”I cried all night,” Robinson said. “You see me? I’m out here by myself trying to find out what’s going on because nobody would tell me.”
On Monday, a memorial with pictures, flowers, candles, balloons, and a single rosary decorated the shattered glass at the store.
Several people came by to pay respects and say nice things.
Keland Craft was one of those people. He said Ukachukwu was one of his best friends and came to grab a bite to eat with him, but instead, watched the crime scene unfold.
“A quick verbal, back and forth, then the shooting went on,” Craft said. “It’s terrible. It’s going to be bad for a while, real bad. This is a real big loss.”
Craft said he tried using some merchandise from the store to stop the bleeding but by the time help arrived, it was too late.
Anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers Houston at 713-222-TIPS.