This story was updated at 6:05 p.m. Jan. 23, 2014.
A 63-year-old employee at a Gaithersburg 7-Eleven convenience store is dead and police have arrested the man they say stabbed him to death.
Montgomery County police said they were called to the 7-Eleven at 9051 Snouffer School Road at 1:49 a.m. Thursday. Inside the store, officers found Abdul Ghaffar, 63, of the 18500 block of Cherry Laurel Lane in Gaithersburg, suffering from cuts to his neck, chin and wrists. Ghaffar was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died.
Police said they have arrested Shaun David King, 36, and charged him with first-degree murder. Police did not disclose King’s residence or any motive.
When officers, responding to a reported stabbing, arrived at the store, they saw King leaving the store with what appeared to be blood on his hands and clothes, according to a police news release. He had a box cutter-style knife in his sweatshirt pocket and tried to run away, but was caught by officers.
Two 7-Eleven employees were in the store when King entered, according to a preliminary police investigation. He attacked Ghaffar, unprovoked, and the second worker called 911, police said.
Steve Dorman of Gaithersburg said customers would call Ghaffar “Smiley” because he was always smiling.
“I get my paper there and he was a real nice fellow, always smiling,” Dorman said.
Ghaffar was a recent immigrant from Pakistan, and moved to the U.S. five years ago, according to Margaret Chabris, corporate communications director for 7-Eleven. He worked three days week at the Snouffer School Road store and four days week at the 7-Eleven branch at 15900 Shady Grove Road.
He was hired on July 1, 2010.
Chabris wrote in an email that Ghaffar was “very caring” and “fastidious about his work.”
“Many customers have come by the store to express their condolences,” wrote Chabris, adding that Ghaffar was planning to retire next year.
Ghaffar was married with three children. Two are in college and one is a doctor in Pakistan.
Chabris explained that all store personnel have been trained in 7-Eleven’s Operation Alert crime-deterrence and safety program, which teaches employees to keep no more than $50 in the cash register and $30 during the night. All stores maintain video camera systems with audio and zoom capabilities and alarms that operate 24 hours.
7-Eleven employees said they were directed by supervisors not to speak with the media.
Staff Photographer Dan Gross contributed to this report.