A 19-year-old husband and father working in his family's Newark bodega was shot and killed Thursday night during a robbery, police said.
Jamil Bader, Jr. was working behind the counter of Family Deli at around 9:30 p.m Thursday when two men, wearing masks and hoodies and armed with guns, charged into the store, threatening Bader and demanding money, police said.
A family member told NBC 4 New York that Bader grabbed one of the robbers, but the other man shot him in the head.
He died instantly.
"He was a very powerful guy," said his cousin. "He said he'll give his life to protect the store."
A delivery worker who happened to be outside the store after the shooting tried to chase the assailants, witnesses told NBC 4 New York, but they got away.
Members of the Bader family, who are Palestinian immigrants, have owned the bodega on Clinton Avenue for six years. Neighbors said they had never heard of a robbery attempt or any problems.
Speaking at an unrelated event, Mayor Cory Booker noted that this was the second fatal bodega robbery in Newark this year, and said the city is working on a plan to improve surveillance cameras in bodegas to discourage crime.
Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio released a statement Friday, noting the decrease in murders in 2012 and urging the public to provide information to help assist in the apprehension of the suspect.
"I extend my condolences to the victims' family and loved ones and want to assure them that we are making every effort to bring this suspect to justice," he wrote.
Friends and family members began leaving candles and teddy bears at a makeshift memorial early Friday to Bader, who was remembered as a hard-working man, devoted husband and loving father.
"He liked to work, he helped the people if they need any help from him," said his uncle, Faiez Hamed.
Police are still searching for the two robbers. Witnesses say they drove off in a gray BMW.