By John W. Goodwin Jr. and Ed Runyan
Police are still canvassing the neighborhood and asking for the public’s help in catching the person who shot and killed a South Side convenience-store clerk.
Christopher V. Weston, 44, of Lordstown, died in the Breaden Market on Tuesday afternoon. A neighbor across the street went into the store at 1026 Overland Ave. to buy groceries and use the telephone and found him behind the counter.
A police report said four shell casings from a .22-calilber gun were found in the store. Weston had been shot twice in the back and was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency personnel.
James Weston of Howland said Christopher, his brother, served in the Navy during the first Gulf War.
On Wednesday, James had both of Christopher’s sons with him in Howland — Christopher, 12, and Steven, 8. Both boys lived with their father on Tod Avenue in Lordstown. Their mother, Terri Stevens, died in March of heart ailments.
It was too early Wednesday to say what the future will be for the victim’s sons.
“We’ve got time,” the 12-year-old said.
“We’re taking it one day at a time,” James added.
The store and surrounding neighborhood were quiet Wednesday afternoon. The store, which sits at a corner attached to three unoccupied apartment units, was closed. A sign on the door let customers know the business would reopen sometime today.
Steve Simpson, who lives in the area, walked past the store Wednesday afternoon with an unidentified friend. He had been coming to the store regularly in the past year and shook his head as he read the handwritten note on the door.
“They always treated everybody nice around here,” he said. “Who would do something like that is the million-dollar question.”
That is certainly a question for police officers working the case. Police Capt. Rod Foley said investigators have very little to go on at this point and are hoping someone comes forward with any additional information.
“It is kind of an open-ended case right now. Detectives are out talking to people, but there is not a lot to go on right now,” he said. “The only thing we know for sure is that he was dropped off at a certain time and someone found him a short time later. We are working standard police procedure to lead to a suspect, but right now there just isn’t a lot to go on.”
A Pittsburgh native, Christopher Weston got out of the Navy in the late 1990s and came to the Warren area, working for the last four years for businessman George Rafidi as a repairman.
“He spent the last couple years working on the store, getting it ready,” James Weston said of his brother, adding that the Breaden Market had been open about three months.
Christopher Weston had opened the store for Rafidi on Tuesday, James said.
“He was a hard worker. He worked for George six days a week,” James said of his brother. “He could fix anything. He was really talented. He worked on the Hovercraft in the Navy.”
Asked if Christopher was the type of person who would have fought with robbers to protect the store, James said he didn’t know.
“He never fought with anybody,” James said, adding that being shot twice in the back doesn’t sound like what would happen when someone fights a robber.
“I don’t know why this happened,” 12-year-old Christopher said. “Nobody’s giving us any information, really.”
Added James, “I have no idea. Maybe we’ll find out,” he said of the reason his brother was killed.
“Everybody knew it was a pretty dangerous area,” James said of the neighborhood around the Breaden Market, but James thought that his brother was going to be OK.
“He got along with everybody in the neighborhood,” James said. “He did a lot of side jobs” for people there.
Police are hoping that anyone with information calls 330-747-7911 or Crime Stoppers, the police department’s tip hot line, at 330-746-CLUE. He said information can be given anonymously, and useful information can sometimes lead to reward money.
Foley said robbery is what police believe was the reason for the murder, but officers also are looking into the possibility of a feud between the victim and someone in the surrounding area. Weston was found with his wallet open next to his body.
“Nobody knows for sure if there was a lot [of money] taken off of him or not. We still have to talk to the family. We still believe robbery was the motive,” Foley added.