Search on for 2 suspects in BP fatal shooting

December 26, 2011 5:06:38 PM PST
Chicago police are searching for two armed men suspected of killing a South Side gas station owner during a Christmas Eve robbery.

Jojo James, 31, of Des Plaines, was gunned down at the BP gas station he co-owned at 43rd and State.

Police say James was shot and killed in the middle of the afternoon on Saturday while working at the gas station. Two men forced their way into the small stand at the BP station, as James was walking in, got cash from the register and opened fire.

James' family says Jojo and another worker were forced to sit on the ground, their cell phones taken away, as the suspects took money from the register. As they were walking out, they turned around and opened fire.

Family members say James was a hard working man, a new father, and a caring husband.

"Very nice, very helpful, ready to help everybody," said Joe Koduvathara, the victim's uncle.

The 31-year-old new father was wrapping up his shift early to attend Christmas Mass with his family to celebrate his 5-month-old son Alphonse's first Christmas and the news of a new baby on the way.

A gas station customer named Harold lives nearby and frequented the gas station, which is now closed and covered in crime scene tape. He says James was well known in the neighborhood.

"Jojo was a super guy," Harold said. "Everybody loved him, everybody around here will tell you that, he was a super guy."

James immigrated to America from India when he was just a teenager. He went to school for computer science and business, and became the part owner of the gas station seven years ago.

Even though neighbors warned James about the risks of his job, he took his chances and worked hard for his new, growing family. His family is still struggling to cope with his death while police search for his killers.

"This was Christmas time, we all loved him, we don't know what to do right now at this moment," said Peter Mathew, the victim's cousin .

Police say they don't have anyone in custody yet. The gas station does have surveillance cameras. Police are reviewing those tapes.

James' family says they are working to bring Jojo's in-laws to America from India so they too can attend the funeral taking place this Saturday in Morton Grove.

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