Store clerks's murders stun Elkhart community

By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email

Elkhart, Ind. Two market employees were shot and killed at Saleh’s Market in Elkhart on Thursday morning.

Jagtar Bhatti, 55, and Pawan Singh, 20, were found unconscious by their co-worker, William Sinclair at around 9:30 a.m. When police arrived the two victims were declared dead.

The reaction of neighbors, family and friends was that of shock and disgust.

“I’m just going to pray for the family, and I hope they catch the ones that did this because this is not right,” said Eric Weekly, one of the store's helpers.

According to Weekly, the owners and employees of the market are well liked by everyone; always giving people food even if they don’t have the money to pay right away, and even maintaining close personal ties with their customers.

“It’s just messed up,” Weekly added.

Sinclair reiterated the victims’ familial relations with the neighborhood, “they’re like family, they’re like brothers to me” he said. Sinclair has known the market’s owners and employees for years and says they’ve always been good people.

Thursday morning Sinclair was in the kitchen of the store when he said he heard a “crack and a pop.” He walked to the front of the store to see if anyone was inside but didn’t see anyone—at least at first.
Standing out front were two girls who asked Sinclair if he had seen two masked men run out. When he answered that he didn’t see anyone, Sinclair told the girls to stay and called police.

“I walked into the store and flipped on my phone, dialed 911, said ‘I need EMTs’…I saw the body before the operator got on.” At that point Sinclair said he saw Bhatti on the counter with blood on his face, and saw Pawan on the ground.

“I didn’t say anything because I could tell they weren’t moving,” he added. However, he was able to tell dispatchers that there were two bodies down and that emergency services were needed as soon as possible.

Sinclair admits that it didn’t register with him at first when he saw the blood on Bhatti’s face. In the past few days Sinclair said Bhatti underwent oral surgery, but the blood on the side of his face made him realize that something was wrong.

Upon closer examination he saw a spot of blood on the back of his shoulder and saw that Pawan was not breathing. All Sinclair could do was wait for police to arrive.

“There’s pain, there’s hurt, there’s anger,” Sinclair explained. He and most everyone else in the area shared similar sentiments of misery and outrage. On a scale of good to bad, Sinclair says the victims were clearly “good,” and until answers are found regarding why these two men were shot and killed uncertainty lingers about why bad things happen to good people.

Police are searching the area for at least two suspects. Anyone with information should contact the Elkhart Police Department.

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