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LIQUOR STORE OWNER REMEMBERED

LIQUOR STORE OWNER REMEMBERED

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Friday, July 16, 2004
Author/Byline: Hector Gutierrez And Clayton Woullard, Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: 31A
A folding chair sat empty Thursday in front of Canary Liquors on Bruce Randolph Avenue.

It’s where Getahun T. Hagos, 55, sat when his business was running a little slow and he would exchange greetings with passers-by and customers.

Those same passers-by and clients stopped in front of his business in the Cole neighborhood throughout most of Thursday to pay homage to the Ethiopian immigrant who was shot and killed by a robber Wednesday afternoon.

Next to Hagos’ folding chair friends and customers placed several candles and little white, stuffed bears. Denver police crime tape blocked the entrance to Canary Liquors. The lights inside were still on.

“Why would anybody want to do this to him?” asked Kelly Mathew- son, a neighborhood friend and customer. “He was just trying to get his business going.”

Mathewson and other neighbors recalled that Hagos moved to Denver from California last year and took over Canary Liquors in about March 2003.

They remembered that even though he had a heavy accent he still managed to make many friends in Cole.

However, customers were concerned that he didn’t seem to take security at his business seriously.

“I always said to him, ‘Please be cautious,’ ” Mathewson recalled. “He would have the box cutter lying around, and I would tell him, ‘Put this away.’ But he was trying to fit in because he wanted to be friends with everybody.”

Hagos’ customers said they believe he recently brought his wife and daughter to Colorado.

Denver police said they think Hagos confronted his assailant during a robbery about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. During the confrontation the robber fired four rounds from a gun at Hagos hitting him in the stomach, police said.
An employee from a brewing company called police when he found Hagos lying in the doorway of the store at 1630 East Bruce Randolph Ave., police said. Hagos died from his wound at Denver Health Medical Center.Witnesses told police they saw a teenager near the store about the time of the shooting. The teenager was wearing a black cap with a red bandana, baggy khaki pants and a black shirt, police said.

Anyone who has information that could assist detectives should contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913- STOP.

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