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Gunman shoots, kills Long Beach store clerk

January 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The search is on for two suspects wanted in a deadly shooting caught on video at a Long Beach liquor store.

The violent robbery happened Saturday night at the P & B Liquor Jr. Market on East Fourth Street.

Surveillance footage clearly shows a suspect pulling out a revolver and pointing it at the store clerk, 53-year-old Sor Phouma, just as Phouma gives back change to another customer

Long Beach police said the gunman first robbed a customer, and then he fatally shot Phouma. Investigators said the two suspects intended to rob the store, but shot Phouma just beyond the camera's view and fled.

Phouma worked at the store for 15 years and was well-liked in the neighborhood. Customers said he was always friendly and they can't believe the robbers took the life of an innocent man just trying to make a living.

"He was pretty cool. I came here a lot to get my lottery tickets and I live right around the corner so everybody comes here and walks up and down Fourth Street," said Long Beach resident Alvin Washington. "I feel pretty secure around here around these businesses, so what happened was pretty bad and he was a cool guy."

"He was always smiling. He was pleasant. He was friendly. He let you do your thing in the store and be a nice clerk, a nice man. It's a very unfortunate tragedy that's happened in our area. We're all very saddened by it," said another Long Beach resident Lagina Ornela.

Police said Phouma leaves behind a wife and five children. The owner of the store is collecting donations for his family. Phouma's family said they were preparing for his funeral on Friday.

Police hope the customer who was in the store right before the murder will come forward as well as anybody else who recognizes the two suspects in the surveillance video.

If you have any information about this crime, you're urged to contact Long Beach police at (562) 570-7247.