Danville store owner found shot dead in his store

Tahir Mahmud, 54, found behind the store counter Tuesday morning

DANVILLE, Va. – For most of Tuesday, police officers and investigators, not customers, were coming in and out of the Joy Food Store on Riverside Drive.

Officers received a call just before 10 a.m. that someone had been found dead in the store.

A short time later, friends of the victim, store owner Tahir Mahmud, found out that he had been killed.

"I've known Brother Tahir for a long, long time; more than four or five years," said one friend who showed up to the scene. "He would not kill a fly either. He was a very nice, very sweet person; very easygoing person."

Friends say Mahmud had previously been attacked at the store and was trying to move the store to a safer part of the city.

"He was trying to sell that building to get to a better area," said the friend. "(A) couple more times, (he was attacked), so he was kind of scared, and here we go. Look what happened to him now."

Police have not said who reported Mahmud dead, but when officers arrived at the store it was open and Mahmud was the only person around.

The Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office's bloodhound was brought in to help officers try to track the suspect or suspects.

Danville Police Department Lt. Mike Wallace said while this is fairly common, he is thankful for the help.

"We're fortunate that we have this manpower this time of the day. It's really nice to have it. You always want to have more," Wallace said.

After sniffing around in the parking lot of the store, the bloodhound led officers across the street and down Highland Court, where they disappeared from sight.

Police have not said if the dog was able to pick up a trail.

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