On an unassuming block of Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side, Bubacarr Camara was murdered on Thursday, bludgeoned to death in broad daylight, the police believe, as he worked at his family’s clothing and odds-and-ends shop. His body was discovered behind the register.
On Friday, men gathered in solemn silence in his father’s apartment on Gerard Avenue in the Bronx, stocking-footed on a carpet of Muslim prayer rugs. To them, Mr. Camara, 26, was not simply a victim of a crime. He was a star soccer player in his homeland of Gambia, in West Africa, they said, a striker with fearsome aim who played for the team in his hometown, Numuyel.
Worker Is Killed During Attack at Upper West Side ShopJUNE 18, 2015
He was a young man called Buba who loved Gambian food, and could not get enough of the peanut butter sauce that is a staple of the country’s cuisine, particularly when cooked up by his stepmother. And he was a father whose toddler son, living in Gambia with his mother while Mr. Camara was away earning a living in America, beams in a plaid shirt in Mr. Camara’s profile on the messaging service WhatsApp.
He had immigrated to the United States only 10 months ago.
On Friday, family and friends clustered in the apartment of Mr. Camara’s father, Bangally Camara, awaiting word from the police about the hunt for the suspects. When a progress report arrived, the men gathered in the living room, some dressed in flowing caftans, perked up, as did the women, their hair covered, cooking chicken in the kitchen to eat at sunset to break the Ramadan fast. But their spirits lifted only for a moment.
“He’s still gone,” Hagie Camara, his uncle, said.
The police said surveillance tapes indicated that three men may have been involved in the murder. But as of Friday evening no one was arrested.
At the shop on Amsterdam Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets, customers gathered outside on Friday, trading stories of Mr. Camara’s kindness. The morning of the attack, said Samuel Cisneros, Mr. Camara had sold him a T-shirt, and when Mr. Cisneros was short of the cost, Mr. Camara let him leave with simply a promise to pay — a typical act for Mr. Camara, his customer said. A metal roll-down gate was pulled over the shop’s glass front, and Mr. Cisneros had filled the metal links with bouquets of flowers and signs written in English and Spanish. Behind the glass, blood could be seen on the floor of the shop.
“The owners of this store are a quiet, humble, hard-working and beautiful family,” one read. Another wished for Allah’s blessing, out of respect for Mr. Camara’s religion, said Mr. Cisneros. A field of carnations in plastic water bottles rested on the pavement; a woman stopped before the display and crossed herself, reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish for Mr. Camara, she said.
In the Bronx apartment on Friday afternoon, Mr. Camara’s father stood in a corner of the kitchen, crying. Nearby, a cousin sat listening ceaselessly to voice mail messages of condolence as they poured in. Almamy Camara, 54, the young man’s uncle, had been the one to call Mr. Camara’s mother, who still lives in Gambia, to tell her that the oldest of her four children — three boys and a girl — had been murdered. He spoke to her softly in their native language of Sarahule. “She was out of control,” he said. “She fainted.”
Out in the hallway, Mahamadou Camara, 23, another of Mr. Camara’s cousin and his roommate in a different apartment in the building, leaned against a wall, his arms folded tightly around himself. He had been doing laundry the last night his cousin was alive, and stopped folding clothes to take a break to eat dinner. When he looked up from his plate, Mr. Camara was busy folding his cousin’s laundry.
“Keep eating,” he recalled Mr. Camara saying. “I’ll do it for you.”
Correction: June 26, 2015
An article on Saturday about the death of a shop worker during a robbery in Harlem misstated the surname of a customer who had visited the store the day of the attack. He is Samuel Cisneros, not Lisneros.
Source : NY TIMES : http://http://nyti.ms/1K2XqU1