Community hold candle light vigil for slain businessman

Man unloading groceries shot to death in Clayton County

A 50-year-old Clayton County man was shot to death Tuesday night as he was unloading groceries, police said Wednesday.

Demba Balde, of Riverdale, was unloading groceries from his car parked on Roxbury Drive when approached by at least one suspect, Officer Danielle White with Clayton County police said. Balde attempted to flee but was shot and killed, White said.

Address records show Balde lived on Roxbury Drive, off Upper Riverdale Road.

Balde owned a convenience store on Metropolitan Parkway in southwest Atlanta, Channel 2 Action News reported. Wednesday night and Thursday, friends and customers gathered at the store to remember Balde.

“They just could’ve asked him for that money and he would’ve given it to them,” said Theo Signleton, who frequented the store daily during his lunch break. “This always happens to the good people.”

Customers continued from Wednesday night through Thursday to stop at Balde’s store to pay their respects to a man they said would give candy to children and even gift cards to needy families to use at nearby Kroger … often followed by a ride home.

“He was a generous guy,” Kecia Cunningham told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He had run the store for two years, after leaving a Citgo Convenience store close by on Cleveland Avenue when his hours were cut, Cunningham said.

“He was the type of person, he would give you the shirt off his back or whatever, if you needed anything, he always tried to uplift,” Arnold Harris told Channel 2.

Another friend, Yulinda Dunlap, had a message for Balde’s killer: “Not only did you take him, you took from this community. You took from this community and it was senseless.”

White declined to release additional information regarding the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call investigators at 770-477-3648 or 770-477-3605.

— Marcus K. Garner contributed to this report.

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