Forty-seven-year-old Rafiq Salim Soufan - known to customers as "Sammy" - was found lying on the ground, in the parking lot outside his store.
"My cousin called me this morning saying he saw people on Facebook saying, 'Rest in peace, Sammy!' And I was like, 'This can't be real, I was just here last night,'" friend and customer Jason Wilkes said.
Residents who live near the business have created a makeshift memorial for Soufan with flowers in front of the store.
"I had a brother who died in 1993, and Sammy brought a whole lot of food to my house," Wilkes said. "No charge, no nothing, just out of love!"
"He was like a daddy to everybody," friend and customer Kendra Dancy said. "He would give the kids free candy; he was real sweet and had a heart full of gold."
According to another shop owner, he urged Soufan to close his store many times, but Soufan refused. He says Soufan just built a home in Israel and planned to move there after working his last year at the store this year.
Rocky Mount police have posted flyers requesting information about his murder.
Authorities say they want to talk to two suspects who may be responsible for the shooting. They're possibly driving a four-door, older model grey Toyota Camry with three hubcaps and one black steel rim.
If anyone has information on this crime, they are asked to contact Twin County Crime Stoppers at 977-1111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.