Neighbors in the quiet Silver Spring, Md., community where two shooting victims lived said 59-year-old Ming-Kun Chih and his son, 32–year-old Li-Jen Chih, were dedicated to their family, working long hours at their store, the Lida Wholesale Corporation.
Customers who have been shopping there for more than 10 years said the are major losses for northeast D.C.
“They’re foreigners like me, just trying to survive, trying to live the American dream. That’s all they were doing,” said Hiwota Ywondwossen.
“Every time I come in the store, they treat me very well, all the time,” said Gregory Green. “If I didn’t have enough money, they said, 'Well, you work across the street you can come back and give it to me later on or something.'”
At about 3:05 p.m. Wednesday, two men went into the store and robbed it, shooting both men, police said. The father died at the scene, and the son passed away at a hospital.
“I heard the screaming,” said Fawad Shaikh, who was working next door when it happened. “I heard gunshots, and my whole wall over there shook because of the gunshots. It was right behind the wall.”
Police said the robbers got away after a lengthy police chase and were last seen at the intersection of 12th and C streets SE driving a silver Pontiac Grand Prix with a D.C. license plate.
As the rest of the wholesale community got back to work Thursday, vendors worried that the escalating crime in the area will soon put them out of business.
“Yesterday, about 10 or 15 customers told us that they’re afraid, even during the day time to walk around this area,” said Shaikh.
“I’m still scared. I couldn’t sleep all night,” said Suleman Hussain, who owns a nearby business. “We’ve been here for only a year and a half, and I don’t know, I don’t want to be here anymore. It’s too scary.”