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Bradenton community mourns slain smoke shop owner

Manatee County

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – A Bradenton smoke shop owner was murdered late Tuesday night while his brother helplessly watched from afar.

The killers are still on the loose but deputies hope a unique weapon will be able to help track them down.

The murder happened around 11 p.m. on Tuesday at the Green Galaxy Smoke and Vape Shop. It was nearing closing time and 23-year-old Mohammed Hamed was on duty.

At some point, deputies say two hooded men rushed in. One of them carried an SKS rifle equipped with a bayonet.

Surveillance image provided by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office

Friends say Hamed’s brother Moses watched the remote surveillance system from Tampa and called 911. But by the time deputies arrived, the suspects had taken off with merchandise and Hamed was dead.

“When I came and I seen his van this morning, I knew it had to be him,” said an emotional friend, Letitia Parker. “This is senseless! For anything to have happened, for this man to be killed, it’s not worth it, it’s not.”

She and her family were close friends with Hamed.

“They’re just very nice people. He and his brother Moses, they would give you the shirt off their back. I just don’t believe somebody would do this to them,” said Parker.

Parker says Mohammed slept in the back because his business had been targeted by robbers in the past.

“You could just tell that he was very…I don’t want to use the word timid, but guarded. Just trying to protect his business,” she said.

The sheriff’s office says there have been no calls for service to the address in the past year.

Parker wants Hamed to be remembered as a kind, intelligent man who always lent a helping hand.

“They embraced us like family. There was times I was going through, even though I had a college degree, I couldn’t find a job and this man let me borrow some money so I could put gas in my car to drive for Uber,” said Parker.

She hopes the community helps out to find the suspects.

“I’m just broken right now that this would happen to anybody and I’m praying that whoever did this to them that they will be persecuted to the fullest,” she added.

Officials won’t disclose how Hamed was killed because it may interfere with the investigation. They hope someone will be able to recognize the rifle.

“It’s a fairly recognizable weapon and we think that may help us having somebody identify who these guys are,” said MCSO spokesman Randy Warren.

If you have any information, call the Manatee County Sheriff’s office. 

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