Aspiring teacher gunned down in family shop

Fakjur Uddin, who family members affectionately called "Apu" helped his father run the family convenience store in Germantown. He came to the country from Bangladesh with hopes of becoming a teacher. But a couple of thugs cut his life short yesterday when they bound him with duct tape, and gunned him down inside his father's shop. Residents and other business owners have expressed their outrage. Police are asking for the public's help in this case. Anyone with any information on the slaying should call the citywide tipline at 215-686-TIPS.

Below is the story as reported by Daily News staff writer Christine Olley:

Every morning, 20-year-old Fakhur “Apu” Uddin opened his father’s Germantown convenience store.
In his native Bangladesh, it is customary that children work for their parents so that they can learn the family business as well as help out, Uddin’s friends said.

But shortly before 10:45 a.m. yesterday, Uddin was forced inside his father’s store, the Rahman Body Oils, Beads and Variety Store, on Germantown Avenue near Chelten, by at least one and possibly two armed men, and was robbed and brutally murdered.

Police called it an execution.
The attacker or attackers forced Uddin into the back of the store where there is a safe, said Homicide Capt. James Clark.

“His arms and legs were bound with duct tape behind his back,” said Homicide Capt. James Clark.
He was shot once in the head. An undetermined amount of money was taken, Clark said.

Friends said that Syed Sirazuddin, Uddin’s father, tried to call his son yesterday morning and got no answer, so he called another store owner, who went to check on Uddin. When she saw that the store was vacant, she flagged down police, who found Uddin’s body.

“We are losing one of the best young boys in our community,” said Kabir Hussain, who called Uddin his nephew even though they were not related.

“I’m so sad!” Hussain screamed, his eyes red, filling up with tears. “This shouldn’t have happened to him.”

Hussain called Uddin a quiet, gentle and polite man who would help anyone who asked. “He always took care of his family,” Hussain said. Uddin, the eldest of five children, was born in Bangladesh and came to the United States about eight years ago. Friends said that he was hard-working, had recently graduated from University High School and was attending Community College of Philadelphia. Hussain said that Uddin hadn’t settled on a career choice yet but had recently mentioned the possibility of teaching after college.

As crime-scene investigators processed the area yesterday, Syed Sirazuddin, the father, collapsed into the arms of a friend. “Everybody is crying for him,” said Payer Ahamed, a local Bangladeshi store owner who was robbed recently.
“I cannot even explain,” said Mohammed Hares, a friend of Sirazuddin. “It is heartbreaking. I feel as though I lost my own child.”

Some Bangladeshi store owners believe that the killing is part of a bigger problem in their community — thugs who target them specifically because of their ethnicity.

“We had a meeting with the mayor last night,” Ahamed said.

“We need some help,” Ahamed said. “This has happened in at least five stores in our community.”

Doug Oliver, Mayor Nutter’s spokesman, confirmed that Nutter met with the local Bangladeshi community on Tuesday. “The bulk of the conversation was about public safety and violence in their neighborhoods,” Oliver said.
Oliver said that the administration agreed to have further meetings with the Bangladeshi leaders and to connect them with the local police captain and commanders in their communities to develop a policing strategy to address their concerns.

Customers of the store were shocked at yesterday’s sad news and gathered at the corner to mourn with Uddin’s family and friends.

“I used to call him Poo-Poo,” said Felicia Thomas, with a smile.

Thomas said that on a recent trip to the store for some incense, Uddin was telling her how excited he was to go back to school. “He was a really nice kid,” Thomas said. “If I had any of my own I would want them to be like him.

“It’s so sad and so unfair, because he didn’t deserve that.”