TAMPA, Fla. - More than 100 friends, family members and customers of slain Family Dollar manager Junior Shorter, 49, came out to his memorial Monday night.
His mother sat on a chair in front of the store where her son was killed Sunday morning. Shorter's mother listened as friends sang songs in his honor and spoke on his behalf. Shorter's sister cried and was held throughout much of the memorial.
The store, located at 4900 N. 40th Street in Tampa, was adorned with posters bearing messages, flowers and candles.
Among those at the memorial was the 20-year-old man Shorter gave his life trying to protect.
For his own safety, the man asked for his name not to be used. He fears that with the gunman still on the run he could be in danger.
"He shot my friend," the cashier said. "He came out of the office to save me and that was his last action. He was a hero."
Shorter, a 26 year Army veteran, was the only other person besides the cashier inside the Family Dollar when the gunman entered the store around 9 a.m. Sunday.
According to the cashier, he didn't see the gunman come into the store because he 'had come in when he had his back turned." The cashier told ABC Action News Shorter saw the man enter and also saw him demand money via surveillance cameras.
Shorter apparently came running to help his employee. He tried to disarm the suspect but was never able to get a word out before he was shot at point blank range, according to the cashier.
"He died right then and there," the cashier said.
The gunman reportedly show no remorse.
"Cold. Cold blooded. He didn't shake. His voice didn't waiver," he recalled.
The gunman then grabbed the cashier and forced him out the front door at gunpoint. Once at the cashier's car, he demanded the keys and the cashier's cell phone. He then tried forcing the cashier into his own trunk.
However, he begged for his life and the suspect let him go before he took off in the stolen car.
"I stayed up last night wondering why he spared by life but quickly took my friend's," the 20-year-old said.
The clerk said he did not recognize the suspect. He added that he never once saw the suspect in the store over the past year and a half he worked there.
Tampa police did recover the clerk's stolen car Sunday night. It was found abandoned at 2503 38th Avenue. A citizen tip led them to the car.
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay has offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest of the shooter. Tipsters can call (800) 873-TIPS (8477), visit www.crimestopperstb.com.
You can also text CSTB plus the tip information to 274637 or use the free app Tipsubmit.