On Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, police discovered 50-year-old Ashokkumar Patel lying dead behind the register of Craig’s Food Mart in Hazleton, PA. They were dispatched to the site following a 911 call originating from the store.
A press conference held by Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office on Dec. 14 to address the public regarding an ongoing investigation into the murder of Patel, it was revealed that an unidentified individual walked into the store and shot Patel once.
The unidentified shooter then took an unknown amount of money from behind the counter and left Patel to die.
Investigators believe that the unidentified shooter fled the scene in a dark colored Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The Hazleton City Police Department and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office are seeking the public’s help to identify a female patron of Craig’s Food Mart who is believed to be the last person inside—other than the victim and the assailant—prior to the murder.
Investigators believe that the unidentified female drove away from the store in a white Ram Rebel pickup truck, which has the rear license plate partially secured to the top right corner of the truck. They believe that the unidentified female may have relevant information to this case.
“Ashokkumar Patel was murdered in a cruel and violent ambush while he worked to support himself and his family,” District Attorney of Luzerne County Stefanie J. Salavantis, said at the press conference, a video of which is available on the web.
“Mr. Patel did nothing to provoke his killer and the preliminary investigation reveals that the shooter walked into the store to commit a robbery and shot Mr. Patel for no other reason than to avoid leaving a witness behind. We will not rest until justice is served for this innocent man and his family and the peace and joy that the people of Hazleton demand is restored,” Salavantis added.
Anyone with information about the identity of these individuals or the location of these vehicles has been asked to contact the Hazleton City Police Department 570-459-4940 ext. 6.