Mon Rai: Refugee Killed In 7-Eleven, Leaves Behind Son, Pregnant Wife Due This Week

mon-rai.jpg
International Institute/Wayne Crosslin
Mon Rai.
Update below: Mon Rai, a 30-year-old immigrant refugee who worked at a St. Louis 7-Eleven store, was shot to death last night on the job, leaving behind an eight-year-old son and a pregnant wife.

The couple was expecting their second child this week.

"It is just heartbreaking," Anita Barker, vice president of education at the International Institute of St. Louis, tells Daily RFT. "We are all really devastated."

Rai was a Bhutanese immigrant who was sponsored by the institute and came to St. Louis in September of 2012 after nearly two decades living in a refugee camp.

See also:
- Haris Gogic: Immigrant Brothers Shot, One Dead, In St. Louis Quick Stop Robbery
- Joseph Fox Charged In Murder of Haris Gogic, 19, Convenience Store Owner

This fatal shooting happened less than two weeks after an immigrant store owner was shot to death by an armed robber in the city. Haris Gogic, nineteen, from Bosnia, was shot in the head in front of his brother, a co-owner of their store. That suspect, who left with around $30, has been arrested and charged.

This latest tragic shooting of an immigrant at a convenience store happened last night at the 7-Eleven on Gravois Avenue by Bates Street in south St. Louis.

7-eleven-shooting.jpg
viaGoogle Maps
7-Eleven where the shooting took place.

Police arrived around 12:30 a.m. in response to a call from a customer who found Rai lying on the floor bleeding, according to the incident report. Rai was taken to the hospital and soon after pronounced dead.

As of this writing, police have very few details about the suspect, except that he was "wearing dark clothing."

mon-rai-image.jpg
International Institute/Wayne Crosslin.
Mon Rai.

Rai, according to the International Institute of St. Louis -- which offers adjustment services for refugees and immigrants -- was originally from Bhutan but had lived in a refugee camp in Nepal for many years.

Suzanne LeLaurin, senior vice president for individuals and families at the institue, tells Daily RFT that his wife "is pregnant and is due to deliver in the next day or so."

She says, "The staff, as well as other clients, are just devastated."

suzanne_LeLaurin.jpg
via
Suzanne LeLaurin.

Referencing the killing last month of the Bosnian immigrant, she says, "It's just hard to wrap your head around these kinds of things.... These are people who fled persecution and in [Rai's] case, his family had lived in a refugee camp for nineteen years under very horrible conditions. Then they come here thinking they are going to be safe and something like this happens."

He was participating in the International Institute's highest-level English class, she says.

Other refugee members of the institute are coming together to support the family, LeLaurin adds.

Barker, who had worked directly with Rai, tells us, "He was one of those exemplary students with not only really good English, but he was hard-working, kind, friendly...[had] a very positive attitude."

Rai was part of a small group of students that the institute had invited to be an interpreter at a path to citizenship event, she notes.

"He was excited to contribute to his new country," Barker says. "He was just one of those people that you know is going to succeed in this country. He has all of the tools, not just the language skills, but the personality, the positive attitude, the eagerness to contribute."

Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for 7-Eleven, says in an e-mail to Daily RFT that the incident happened a little after midnight and that the employee was working by the sandwich case when an unidentified male approached him from behind and shot him. A few minutes later, she says, a customer found the employee and called 911.

She also issued this statement:

We at 7-Eleven, Inc. are shocked and deeply saddened over what appears to be the random shooting of a 7-Eleven® store employee at one of our St. Louis stores. 7-Eleven and its franchisee are doing everything we can to work closely with police during the investigation, and we hope for a quick apprehension of the suspect involved.

Rai is the 40th homicide victim in the city of St. Louis in 2013. Police say he lived in the Dutchtown South neighborhood.

Update, 3 p.m.: The institute has provided Daily RFT with the above photo of Rai and also has set up an account at Southern Commercial Bank for contributions to the family. Contributions can be sent to any Southern Commercial branch, and the account is listed as "Funds for Mon Rai Family." Locations can be found here.

Here's the short incident report summary from SLMPD.

Incident: Homicide
Location: 5600 block of Gravois (7-Eleven)
Date/Time: 6/10/13 @ 00:31
Victim: Mon Rai, 30-year old Asian male
Suspect: unknown suspect, wearing dark clothing
Officers responded to the 7-Eleven at the above location after a customer reported the store clerk lying on the floor bleeding. Upon arrival, the officers located the victim on the floor suffering from a gunshot wound to his back. The victim was conveyed to a local hospital and pronounced deceased. The investigation is ongoing.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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41 comments
aryan_prdn2007
aryan_prdn2007

Indeed, it is the matter of heartfelt ........................ Let his departed soul rest in peace in the heaven.. 

Susil Regmi
Susil Regmi

It is again the next new sad news that hurt the hearts of we people who resettled in USA with the lot of hope.what the pregnant women and a little kid do in near future to survive.even the USA lacks giving the security to the people.how could be rest of world????

Ben Schmidt
Ben Schmidt

Let's start closing these gas stations and fast food restaurants at a reasonable hour. Leave select locations open in high traffic areas and maintain a police presence in those areas. This gas station, located on Bates and Gravois, is a hotbed for crime and attracts the scummiest of scumbags to the area. Enough is enough.

naian_happy41
naian_happy41

Let his departed soul rest in peace in heaven!

Julie Sommer
Julie Sommer

absolutely horrible. does anyone know if/where donations can be sent for his funeral expenses or a fund for his family or ??

Victoria Lopez
Victoria Lopez

Is there anyway we can donate money to his widow?

Christopher Schmidt
Christopher Schmidt

Such a sad way to try to start a new life in the US only to be taken away by some criminal with a gun. Time to stop flooding the prisons with criminals and show them the same amount of disrespect they show to innocent people, don't give them a choice to live free in the prison system. Instead of a trial and wasting money just shoot the bastards, that should send a message eventually to the low lifes who commit these stupid crimes.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

so sad. I am sick of hearing about these homicides in St. Louis. What do we do to stop it?

Charlie Meyer
Charlie Meyer

So sad that this man came to our country from such horrible conditions, only to be murdered while trying to earn an honest living.

Lloyd Henry
Lloyd Henry

Where's Mayor Francis Slay's comments? Where's Alderman Fred Wessels' comments? Where's Chief Sam Dotson's comments? Disgusting.

Jill Delia
Jill Delia

Not surprised. I used to live less than a mile from there over 10 years ago. Got robbed at the bus stop in front of the QT at Gravios & Morgan Ford in broad day light on a busy, sunny Saturday afternoon! It was a "police sub-station" but when I went in there after the incident to report it, they saw nothing and were totally useless. So sorry for his family though, what a tragedy for them. :/

Scott Tyler
Scott Tyler

Its about time we say screw the ACLU and go back to the electric chair, and show every execution live in every jail cell in the country......Give the criminals something to think about because they sure aren't worried about sitting in prison for years.

Mary Poletti
Mary Poletti

How awful. Sending prayers to this young family, which overcame so much to come here & try to live a good life. This gas station is maybe five minutes from my home (in what I've always considered an incredibly safe neighborhood) & stumbling distance from the bar where I was proud to host family, friends & people I had never even met for my boyfriend's 30th birthday party. Still, my own sense of safety hardly seems significant in light of this loss of life.

Maggie Madonia
Maggie Madonia

This is incredibly sad. My condolences to his family.

Marita Donalds
Marita Donalds

It's high time, we start educating our citizens right here at home. Instead we tell people in foreign countries how to behave and what to strife for. America, our beloved and beautiful country, is going backwards at a rapid pace. It is more than disturbing, it is frightening!

Kirsten Mazzanti
Kirsten Mazzanti

What is wrong with people! Get a damn job and stop this stupid shit. Do these people not realize the destruction they cause. My prayers to his family. So very sad and un called for.

Steve Carlson
Steve Carlson

another reason why the 24 hour gas station is a bad idea,just one the many of the human race...

Jessica Graye Porcelli
Jessica Graye Porcelli

3 random shootings this weekend, all 3 areas I frequent for my work....making me feel less and less safe by the minute...something MUST be done.

Patrick Rafferty
Patrick Rafferty

horrible deal-no chance in hell the killer is ever brought to justice

Tony Brady
Tony Brady

Dislike, put them away. STL is getting as bad as NOLA

Gregg Thomas
Gregg Thomas

That's two fatal shootings of store clerks in the Bevo area in the last two weeks. Time for me to move.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

"horrible" = we refuse to address the real problem because it's uncomfortable.

KeshKat Knk
KeshKat Knk

Ignorance, pure hate, such a sad thing, wife and 8 year old, he came to this country to be treated for worse then he could have imagined!

Jolena Shatzer
Jolena Shatzer

My condolences to his wife and children. As a resident of the city, I'm saddened to hear of another immigrant's death for no reason at all. To flee such hellish conditions only to be gunned down while trying to start life anew is ironic and tragic.

Tim Garner
Tim Garner

Better get the bastard that did it.

bham82
bham82

An account for the family has been created at Southern Commercial Bank. You can make deposits there to the "Mon Rai Family Fund". Checks made out to that fund, as well as material donations, can also be dropped off at The International Institute of St. Louis:

3654 S. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis MO 63118

salwansk
salwansk

@Victoria Lopez u can ask the international institute.  

3654 S Grand Blvd  St Louis, MO 63118
(314) 773-9090

... and im sure they know her address, so u can help her

salwansk
salwansk

@Sharon Walker using death sentence... that's for sure will limit the crimes

joanbran
joanbran

@salwansk We already have the death penalty. It did nothing to stop this.

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