Family photo, supplied to the Kansas City Star.
This is Gurpreet "Tony" Singh, a 35 year old divorced father of two. Mr. Singh and his family came to the United States when he was in elementary school and settled in to life in Kansas City. Mr. Singh completed high school and began to work a variety of part time jobs at St. Joseph Medical Center. To supplement his income, he took a job at the 7-11 convenience store on the corner of Bannister Road and James A. Reed Road in February of 2010. He had just received word that he would be hired full time at St. Joe to work as a kitchen supervisor. He was working his last overnight shift at the 7-11.
I can't imagine taking the overnight shift in a convenience store. There's a joke: nothing good happens after midnight. Those who are out at that time, especially on week days, can be of questionable character. Robbery is a real threat. In fact, this particular 7-11 location had been robbed 7 times in 12 months. Mr. Singh, himself, experienced a robbery in February, not long after starting. That time, as he had been taught, he put all the money in a bag, gave the crook 3 packs of cigs and got through it shaken, but safe. Early Wednesday morning, March 17 a man came in to the 7-11, brandished a weapon and instructed Mr. Singh that he wanted all the money. Mr. Singh again emptied his register and gave the robber a bag of money.
Then for no reason that anyone can figure, the man shot Mr. Singh once in the abdomen. Mr. Singh was able to call 911. The call was received at 0110. Mr. Singh relayed information to the 911 call taker and police, fire and ambulance was dispatched.
Mr. Singh died on the operating table at the hospital. His two children are 7 and 9 years old.
There's a lot of talk about a serial rapist, who has raped five women in the Waldo area of Kansas City since September 2009. There's been marches and demonstrations, self defense instruction and profiling, a sketch and neighborhood watches. There's been a lot of internet chat, some pretty fiery at times. Rape is a nasty crime, a crime of power, intimidation and control. It leaves its victims shaken to the core. Rapists, for all their ugliness, usually have discernible reasons for their horrific actions.
Mr. Singh's murder makes no sense. And for that reason, those who committed it are most exceedingly dangerous, even more so than the "Waldo Rapist". They came to the store. They got money, and they could have taken anything else they wanted from the store. But for no apparent reason, they shot a man. And he died. I want to know: why shoot Tony Singh? You got what you wanted from him. Just leave, robber man. Your face is on the security camera. You didn't take that out--an oversight that I pray will lead to your capture.
This random nonsense killing is far more frightening to me than the rapist. What's to stop this man from walking into my neighborhood 7-11 and killing someone there? Or the QT on Wornell I go to, what would stop him from killing there? Or the nice lady who works the register at the Phillips 66 on Red Bridge and Holmes? This man, and his two co-conspirators, must be caught ASAP. Who knows who they might shoot next for no apparent reason.
The gunman, a black man, had on a black hooded sweatshirt or coat. Two other people were in the store at the same time, another black man wearing a dark coat and a white t-shirt underneath, and a black woman, wearing a white t-shirt who stood near the door. Police want all three of them for questioning. I would like a fast 5 minutes with them to ask why. No, strike that. I probably don't want to hear the answer--for there is no reasonable reason for taking the life of a defenseless and cooperative man. Let's just catch these people, put them in jail and let God take the ultimate judgement.