A family faced the possibility of losing their father's convenience store, only a year after their father was murdered behind the counter of it.
Meriden Police said Ibrahim Ghazal was shot by Frankie Resto while working at the BZ Mart on East Main Street on June 28, 2012.
Police said Ghazal was killed despite handing over the money suspect Frankie Resto demanded. Ghazal was shot at point-blank range.
"I know driving by, they had the American flags out," said Len Suzio, who is a former state senator from Meriden. "They were proud to be here in America and then this American dream just turned into a nightmare overnight."
Fapyo Ghazal, one of Ibrahim's six children, came to the store after his dad's death with the intention of running the family business. He told us his father's dream was to own the store.
"We lost my lovely dad and we lost the store," Fapyo Ghazal said.
As recent as this week, a photograph of 70-year-old Ibrahim Ghazal was in the window, and the sign above the door now bears his name.
According to Fapyo Ghazal, his father bought the store just weeks before his death with a partner, Samuel Johnson. They bought the business from a third man, Anwar Alfrede, who still owns the real estate on which the store is located
"He had purchased it only three weeks before his murder. It was his life-long dream, was my understanding," Suzio told Eyewitness News. "He had been here for, I think, almost 30 years, saving up for the time he was going to own his own business."
Ghazal's family said Ibrahim Ghazal paid the money, but never signed any paperwork that would have offered proof of that purchase and partnership.
Ghazal's estate is filed at Meriden probate court.
"Ibrahim paid more than $90,000 on May 25th for his part of the convenience store and gas station," court documents stated.
A probate judge approved a settlement between family of Ibrahim Ghazal and his former partner Johnson on Thursday.
The Ghazal family sold their interest in the business to Samuel Johnson for $30,000, which is at least $60,000 less than they said Ibrahim Ghazal paid into it.
Johnson will assume all of the debt incurred by the store after Ghazal's death, when both sides were fighting for control. Those debts total just over $70,000.
When Eyewitness News visited BZ Mart, a man inside, who identified himself as Samuel Johnson, had "no comment."
Eyewitness News also tried to reach Alfrede for a comment by phone and at his home about the sale of the business, but with no success.
Fapyo Ghazal showed us a half a dozen police reports that he said are the result of the ongoing feud between the families.
Even though Ghazal Mart is open, the Ghazal family told Eyewitness News they haven't been able to set foot inside.
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