Police say the 28-year-old man, identified as Lamin Sillah, was in the office when two suspects rode up on bicycles to RC Petrolioum on East 182nd Street and Southern Boulevard in the East Tremont section around 9:40 p.m.
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Co-worker Jason Mwewa said the gas station was packed at the time, but that didn't stop the suspects. Mwewa had just arrived to relieve Sillah, who was finishing up before he went home.
"The guy pulled out the gun and he put it behind my back," Mwewa said. "I just put my hands up, and he searched my pocket. And as soon as he was done, I walked away. But my co-worker, he was doing paperwork. He didn't see what was happening. And that's when the guy pointed a gun at him. And he just yelled something, like he was surprised, like 'Yo!' and that's when I heard three shots rang out."
Police say the suspect, covering his faces with a hoodie, shot Sillah several times before fleeing on the bicycle. Mwewa said he gave chase, but was unable to catch anyone or see any faces because of the hoodies.
Sillah was pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital.
"I just want justice for this guy," Mwewa said. "I hope they find the person who did it. This guy, he's the most honest person I've ever come across. That's why whoever did this, you gotta try to find the guy. This guy worked so hard. He probably has a family that's depending on him. So this guy is a really, really good guy."
Police are looking at surveillance video they recovered from the scene.
Sillah's family said he only started working at the gas station 10 days ago, and that the came to U.S. with a student Visa from Gambia just 10 months ago to get more education. Roommate and cousin Mohommad Kijera was devastated.
"We sleep together, you know, we eat together, anything, we do it together," he said. "In that sense, he wasn't lonley. But now I'm lonely."
Police are hoping someone recognizes the shooter from the sketch or the young man seen in the white T-shirt acting as the lookout outside.
"Lamin is nice, very nice, that's why this accident is very painful for us," said Ebou Cham, the victim's uncle.
Ebou Cham invited Eyewitness News into the apartment he shared with his nephew, Lamin.
Lamin took the job as a gas station attendant to pay for the accounting classes he was taking, to further his education so he could get a better job back home.
A devout Muslim, Lamin studied the Koran in his free time.
"We had the same love, for our religion, our job," Cham said.
At the gas station, friends are leaving candles and artwork in his memory.
"I feel ashamed that he came to our country for a dream, and he's going home in a body bag," said Wayne Starks, a family friend.
His body will be flown home to Gambia on Saturday.
His parents still live there, and so does his wife. They had been married less than a year.
No arrests were immediately made.
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