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Monticello robbery leaves one dead, another injured

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON / Police, sheriffs and investigators respond to the murder of Patil Nilkanth Santoshrao at his store, Duncan's Corner Store in Monticello Thursday night.

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON / Police, sheriffs and investigators respond to the murder of Patil Nilkanth Santoshrao at his store, Duncan’s Corner Store in Monticello Thursday night.

One man is dead and another injured after an attempted robbery Thursday night at Duncan’s Corner Store in Monticello.

According to authorities, Nilkanth Patil , 53, died after being shot in the neck during an attempted armed robbery.

The second victim was shot in the shoulder. The victim, a 16-year-old employee, was transported to a hospital in Hattiesburg. He has since been released. Because he is a minor, authorities cannot release his name.

Willie Wallace, Lawrence County undersheriff, said two males wearing hoodies   entered the store around 7:30 p.m.

He said Patil, owner of Duncan’s Corner, and the minor employee were behind the counter when the two men entered the store. Patil was shot first in the neck, then the employee was shot once in the sholder. Patil’s son was also in the store during the attempted robbery but was not injured.

Family and friends of Santoshrao huddle together outside of the store after the incident.

Family and friends of Santoshrao huddle together outside of the store after the incident.

Lawrence County Sheriff Joel Thames said Kegerran Peyton, 23, of 387 James Cox Road, Monticello, and Darrion Watts, 22, of 15 Watts Bennett Circle, Oakvale, were charged Friday morning with capital murder, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and aggravated assault to a minor.

Wallace said the store did have video surveillance, and investigators were able to use it along with the community’s help to identify suspects.

Thames said they were truly blessed to be able to catch them so quickly with the help of the surveillance videos and of the Peyton Town community.

“The community notified us. You don’t get that kind of help very often,” said Wallace. “People are tight. Lawrence County is very small. We know everybody one way or another. That’s what it takes this day in time, people helping people to keep the community safe.”

After the incident, Duncan’s Corner Store was surrounded by friends of Patil who were shocked and angered by the shooting. Most knew Patil, aka “Pop,” fondly. Through word of mouth, reports from friends and neighbors, the Peyton Town community banded together to make sure the two suspects were apprehended.

Peyton

Peyton

“I’ve known the family since I was a little kid. Me and the son are like brothers,” said Matthew Miller, who arrived on the scene after hearing the news. “They were the nicest people you could every meet. If you didn’t have enough money to buy something in there, he would give it to you and tell him to pay you back next time. They would help anybody. They would never hurt anybody.”

Charles Bridges arrived on the scene early. He said he saw Patil every day.

“It’s really going to touch the whole community. Not just by the store, by him himself (Santoshrao),” said Bridges.

Watts

Watts

Adrian Brown worked at the store. He said “Pop” would always give things away. Brown remembered taking his son in the store and telling him he was not going to buy any candy, but “Pop” leaned over and told the child to take what he would like. Brown said that happened frequently, even when his son had friends with him, they would all get candy or snacks.

“He loved his wife and his son. When they changed shifts and they greeted each other, they would hug and kiss, and you could tell the love they had. He was a prime example of what love and family is supposed to be,” said Charles’ wife and friend of the Santoshrao family, Joi Brown. “All of my children love him, and he knows all four of their names. He had a good heart. He was just a great guy.”

Bridges and the Browns said Patil would give back to the community by throwing parties out of his own pocket and supporting charities.

“He was just a good man, good over-all, point blank. He is going to be greatly, greatly missed,” said Adrian Brown.

The incident is still under investigation.

Duncan’s Corner Grocery is located at the corner of Light Plant Road and FE Sellers Highway.