Family, friends mourn storeowner killed in shooting

October 21, 2010 (CICERO)

"We don't want to focus on the last week," said Naoum's daughter, Noelle. "We want to focus on the last 59 years of his life and everything he did with all of us."

"It's tough for us inside, but it's the people coming out and showing their love to us that's really helping us through this," said Noelle Naoum.

Bassam Naoum was shot and killed last weekend inside his Near North Side convenience store, close to Cabrini Green.

Thursday night, friends said he could have been successful anywhere, but he stayed in the community.

"He elected to be there, and he felt responsible," said lifelong friend Alex Latifi. "He thought, he actually believed he was making a difference."

Leshah Brown, a customer of Naoum's store, said Naoum, who was also known as Ollie, helped her out financially.

"I couldn't afford food - if I asked Ollie, he'd have gave it to me," said Brown.

"We all love him. We all are going to miss him, and we're just sad. We're really sad about what happened to him," said another customer, Natalia Blackmon.

For now, family and friends await an arrest.

"We want to reach a closure - the family and the friends want to reach closure," said lifelong friend Gazi Mashal. "The only way we can accomplish that somehow is to find the perpetrator."

The family wants the visitation Thursday night and Friday morning's funeral to be celebrations of Naoum's life.

After the funeral, they will hold a luncheon, and at that time, they hope to hear many more stories from the people he inspired and touched.

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