Crime

Visalia man killed in robbery

A Visalia man gunned down at his family's convenience store near Kingsburg on Saturday was engaged to be married in India later this year.

Instead, his family now is trying to make funeral arrangements in India.

Gurtaj Nahal, 29, who had recently bought a house near relatives in Visalia, worked seven days a week in his family's convenience store, where he was shot Saturday afternoon.

He died Saturday night at Selma District Hospital's emergency room from a gunshot wound that pierced his heart, said his sister, Navdeep Nagra.

Nagra, who owns the Super Stop convenience store on Mehlert Avenue, just south of Kingsburg, said she visited with her brother a couple hours before the 4:20 p.m. shooting.

Nahal had worked for her for nine years. She has owned the convenience store for 15 years.

The family also owns RJ Travel Center in Traver.

"He was just so happy," Nagra said Sunday. "Nobody ever had a complaint with him."

She also said he never missed a day of work, even when he didn't feel well.

Nahal spent a lot of time with Nagra's two teenaged sons, Money and Jesse, who both play basketball for Redwood High School's varsity team.

The shooting Saturday occurred after a man entered the store waving a handgun.

He removed money from the cash register and placed it inside a black plastic bag he was given by Nahal, Tulare County sheriff's reports said.

After taking the money, the robber stepped to the store's exit and and fired one round from his handgun at Nahal, striking him in the upper torso, the report said.

Nagra said her brother was struck in the shoulder and the bullet traveled to his heart.

Nagra said she and her brother had always agreed that in the case of a robbery that he would give up the money and not fight the assailant.

On Saturday, she said he seemed to follow their agreement.

"All the time, I tell him to give them all the money, even his pocket money, and never go back in the parking lot," she said.

Nahal was found behind the counter, she said.

Video surveillance was functioning and sheriff's detectives are using video from the store to learn more about the shooter and a second man he left with from the parking lot.

The shooter is described as black, 18-25 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing about 165 pounds.

He was wearing sunglasses, a dark-blue hooded sweater, blue jeans, a baseball cap with a white bill and what looked like black Converse tennis shoes with white tips. He left the store in a red, 1980s model compact two-door car with a black convertible top.

He was with a second man, described as Caucasian, 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing about 200 pounds. The second man has black hair, brown eyes and a large nose. He is clean shaven and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Tulare County Sheriff's Department at (559) 733-6218 or (800) 808-0488.

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