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Tragic accidental shooting claims the life of Sylacauga convenience store clerk


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – A quick stop at the Chevron Hop-In convenience store in Sylacauga took a devastating turn on Monday, Aug. 21, when the deceased body of 21-year old male was discovered.

The incident unfolded at approximately 12:45 p.m. at the store, located on N. Broadway Ave. and 10th St.

The initial call for help was made by a concerned Sylacauga firefighter who had stopped at the convenience store to make a purchase.

Upon their arrival, Sylacauga Police Department officers discovered the body of Pankaj Pankaj, a store clerk hailing from India, lying behind the store’s counter. A handgun was found on the floor near Pankaj’s body.

Responding swiftly to the scene, Sylacauga Investigator Lt. Willis Whatley began searching for a cause concerning the tragic death of Pankaj Pankaj.

As part of the investigation, the store’s surveillance video was carefully reviewed. It was soon determined that Pankaj had accidentally suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head while handling a firearm that belonged to the store owner. The gun was typically kept behind the counter for the purpose of self-protection for the store’s employees.

The coroner, after reviewing the available evidence, ruled Pankaj’s death as an accident.

Following the conclusion of the investigative procedures, Pankaj’s remains were entrusted to the care of Community Funeral Home. His family is expected to make arrangements for his final resting place, deciding where he will be transported for burial.

The Sylacauga Police Department extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Pankaj Pankaj during this difficult time.

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