Crime - Sacto 911

Gas station employee went outside to empty trash. Soon after, he was shot dead.

Crime scene Tuesday night at Chevron station on Florin Road
Crime scene Tuesday night at Chevron station on Florin Road Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department

With the exception of the bullet holes in the front facade, things looked deceptively normal Wednesday at the old Florin Chevron less than 24 hours after a popular clerk was gunned down by men loitering in the parking lot.

People paid for gas, picked up ice, left with snacks.

At around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, a gas station employee, identified as Simranjit Singh, 20, of Elk Grove was shot to death outside of the station by men who had earlier assaulted his co-worker.

“It could have been any of us,” said Noemi Hoogeveen, manager of the Quick Stop station across the street.

Shooing transients and bad apples from the property is an unfortunate part of the job, Hoogeveen said. She said the owners have made significant strides in cleaning up the area and improving the business. While it still had a fortified glass-slot to protect workers during night transactions, the station had gone from being a rundown, off-brand station to a Chevron with palm trees and green grass.

Sgt. Tony Turnbull, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, said the department has not identified suspects. The investigation is likely to include a review of exterior surveillance video.

“They have been going nonstop since it happened,” Turnbull said of the detectives investigating Singh’s shooting death.

The incident began as another employee went to the parking lot to clean the property at 8498 Florin Road. Turnbull said the men who were loitering began verbally assaulting the employee. That verbal attack turned physical when one of the men hit the employee. The employee returned inside to call 911.

Soon after, Singh went outside to empty trash. It’s unclear whether Singh knew of the earlier assault, Turnbull said.

One of the men fired several shots at the clerk, killing him, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. The shooter and his accomplices fled the scene southbound on Florin-Perkins Road in a light-colored compact car.

“It’s an unsafe area,” said Hoogeveen.

Kiwana Thomas was one of a handful of people who stopped by the Chevron to pay her respects. She said she lives in the area and often spoke to Singh.

“It’s really, really sad,” Thomas said. “He was such a good person. He would greet you (as you walked) in and greet you out.”

Chevron Corp. issued a statement late Wednesday saying, “Chevron is deeply saddened to learn of the fatal shooting of a station employee in Sacramento on Tuesday night. We will work with the retailer and with law enforcement on the investigation of this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim.”

Ed Fletcher: 916-321-1269, @NewsFletch