Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family, customers mourn Seminole convenience store clerk killed during robbery

SEMINOLE — Debra Clausen never had to say a word when she walked through the door of JFS Food Mart.

Before she even got to the counter, nighttime clerk Mohammod T. Islam would already have her order ready. He knew it by heart.

"He knew the cigarettes I liked," said Clausen, 32. "He knew my name. He knew me."

On Thursday, Clausen and her fiance made their usual trip to the corner store in a small strip shopping center at 11801 Seminole Blvd. Islam wasn't inside.

The night before, authorities said, someone walked into the store and killed him during a robbery.

"Never once would I walk in and he wouldn't say, 'Have a good day.' That means a lot," said Clausen, who has been stopping by the neighborhood convenience store for years.

She and her fiance added a candle to a growing makeshift memorial Thursday night.

"It's just scary it happened right here," she said. "It's hard, and it hits home."

Pinellas sheriff's detectives released a surveillance video on Thursday of the robber entering the store and this description: He is a slender black man in his late teens to early 20s; he was wearing a large stud-type earring in each ear; he had on baggy clothes, a gray hoodie sweatshirt with an insignia on the front and black trim on the sides, gray sweatpants and black Converse high-top sneakers.

Deputies said he fled on a BMX-style bicycle after fatally wounding Islam.

"I'm told that the homicide unit has received some tips, which they are diligently pursuing," sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said Thursday night.

Islam, 37, was found on the floor behind the counter by another store employee and a customer just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff's officials said.

He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center and pronounced dead, deputies said.

Witnesses said it appeared that Islam had been shot. But the Sheriff's Office has not said how the clerk was injured.

"It's just terrible," said Jeff Sweatmon, 35, Clausen's fiance. "It's like a little family atmosphere around here. It's a ridiculous crime to have happened. He was never cross to anybody."

Mohammod T. Islam, known as "Murphy" to family, was born in Bangladesh. He moved to Clearwater three years ago from Port Charlotte.

He married Bibi Narisha Rahaman, 33, about seven years ago. They have no children.

"He was a really good man," his wife told Bay News 9. "I'm feeling really, really shocked, heartbroken, too much pain. It's too much."

Islam worshiped at the Al Hamza Mosque on Clearwater-Largo Road.

"It was a shock," said Asif Mohamed, who knew him from the mosque. "He was always smiling, always jolly."

Back at the store Thursday night, a makeshift memorial grew as the night wore on.

Regulars came and went. They hugged the man and woman behind the counter and wiped tears from their cheeks. Many stopped a few doors down at the Family Dollar and bought candles and cards to add to the memorial. Some bought flowers from the Winn-Dixie across the street.

By closing time, about 8 p.m., there were 15 bouquets of flowers and 23 candles in front of the door.

"You don't realize how much these people you spend 10 minutes a day with impact your life until something like this happens," said Clausen, who last saw Islam on Tuesday. "They really mean a lot to us."

Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643.

The man who killed store clerk Mohammod T. Islam, 37, was photographed by the store’s surveillance camera. To see video of the robber, go to tampabay.com.video.

The man who killed store clerk Mohammod T. Islam, 37, was photographed by the store’s surveillance camera. To see video of the robber, go to tampabay.com.video.

. facts

How to help

Anyone with information about the robbery or suspect can call the Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200 or Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-873-8477.

Family, customers mourn Seminole convenience store clerk killed during robbery 12/29/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 30, 2011 5:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  2. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs-Bills journal: Breakout game for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) celebrates a touchdown catch with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Vladislav Namestnikov is Lightning's top-line 'secret'

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov is piling up the goals. Steven Stamkos is an assist machine. They make for an impressive pairing in a league that favors scoring pairs over the more traditional three-player scoring lines.

    Vladislav Namestnikov (90) has three goals and 10 points on a line with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov.
  5. Bucs-Bills report card: Grading the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Hard to believe, but this was only the second time in their history that the Bucs played a regular-season game in Buffalo. After Sunday loss, they wouldn't mind going another 40 years without playing here again.

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]