The owner of a Lancaster convenience store was found dead of gunshot wounds in the front yard of his home late Thursday, coroner and police officials said.
The owner had locked up his nearby store less than 10 minutes before he was found dead, police said.
Harnish Patel, 43, of 262 Craig Manor Road, Lancaster, was found in the yard a few minutes before midnight, according to a release from the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office. Patel lives across the street from White Oak Manor long term care.
Lancaster County deputies received calls at 11:33 p.m. after people called 911 to say they heard screaming and gunshots, according to a release from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
Patel had closed his Speedee Mart store at 1416 Pageland Highway nearby at 11:24 p.m., police said, and left for home in his silver minivan.
“Investigators believe he drove from the store directly home, where he was confronted by his killer when he got out of the vehicle,” a police statement said.
The store is between three and four miles from the house, online maps show.
Sheriff Barry Faile said Friday afternoon, as the investigation continued, that the Indian ethnicity of Patel, the victim, does not appear to be a factor in the crime.
“I don’t have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated,” Faile said
Faile said Friday afternoon that police do not have at this point any surveillance video that can be released.
He asked the public to call police if anyone saw anything at the store, the house, or anywhere between the two points.