Arundel police seek help in gas station killing; reward increased to $27K

Anne Arundel County Police issued a plea for the public's help Wednesday in solving the murder of a gas station clerk in Hanover last week.

The reward for information in the fatal shooting of Rajinder Kumar, 49, at an Exxon station in Hanover on Aug. 7 now stands at $27,000, with contributions from the FBI, the Anne Arundel County Muslim Council and Metro Crime Stoppers.

"We are in relentless pursuit of this cold-blooded killer and we won't rest until he is in handcuffs," Anne Arundel Police Chief Kevin Davis said during a news conference at the gas station Tuesday afternoon.

Kumar was working the overnight shift at the gas station at 7898 Ridge Road at about 1 a.m. Aug. 7 when a man came into the store and shot the clerk, as shown on surveillance video released by police.

The suspect is described as a black man, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, khaki cargo shorts, black gloves and black sneakers. Video shows him running away from the gas station just before an SUV pulled up to a gas pump. He made off with an unknown amount of cash.

Police are at a loss as to who the man is. They've received tips and tracked down the driver of the SUV that pulled up right after the shooting, but they haven't identified a suspect.

Kumar was an immigrant from the Punjab state of India who had worked at the Exxon for about a year, said Naveel Malik, owner of the station. Kumar's family back home in India includes a wife and two children.

"He was a great person, a great employee," Malik said.

Malik and the Anne Arundel County Muslim Council have been raising money to pay to send Kumar's body to India for burial. Many donations have come from customers at the Exxon, which is across from Fort George G. Meade.

Though business has resumed at the gas station, employees are shaken, Malik said. Since the shooting, Malik said he has been checking up on his nighttime employees more often. He plans to add more security cameras.

Lt. T.J. Smith, a police spokesman, said police are asking the public to review photos police have released and consider if the subject may be someone they know, or if the clothes are familiar.

"We don't believe this killer went out and bought killing clothes," Smith said.

Smith said, however, the man may have changed his appearance or left town.

The FBI contributed $20,000 to the reward fund. FBI Special Agent in Charge Steve Vogt said it's a federal crime to rob a commercial establishment.

"It's hard to come forward … but the thing you need to think about is that someone died," he said.

The Anne Arundel County Muslim Council also donated $5,000 and Metro Crime Stoppers is offering $2,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call Anne Arundel homicide detectives at 410-222-8610. A community vigil to honor Kumar is planned for 6 p.m. on Monday at the gas station.

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