Police ID Suspects in Clerk Murder - NECN
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Police ID Suspects in Clerk Murder

One of the suspects is also a suspect in the murder of a Bridgeport store owner.

(Published Friday, May 15, 2015)

New Haven police have identified three suspects in the murder of a Connecticut father-to-be inside a New Haven gas station last month, including one man who is suspected of killing the owner of a Bridgeport store owner just days later.

The New Haven victim, Sanjay Patel, 39, was shot more than five times during a robbery at the Pay Rite Food Store at the Citgo station on Forbes Avenue on the night of Monday, April 6.

Police said one gunman shot Patel four times, the other shot him more than once, then fled with cash and a box of cigars.

"He's my main power, my life, and he is no more," pregnant widow Bhavana Chavada said of her late husband. "Why? Just money? Just robbery?"

Police secured arrest warrants for three suspects on Thursday morning.

One of those suspects, Dwayne Sayles, 21, of New Haven, was taken into custody around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, with the help of U.S. Marshals. Sayles was charged with felony murder, murder, criminal possession of a pistol and first-degree robbery and is in the custody of New Haven police.

Police said they will also serve arrest warrants on Jamal Sumler, 23, and Leighton Vanderberg, 22, who who has been charged in the murder of Bridgeport Store owner Jose Salgado.

Police believe Sayes and Sumler were the two people to fire shots at Patel.

Salgado was working at the store he owns with his wife, Sapiao's Grocery at 351 Lexington Avenue in Bridgeport, on April 11 when armed robbers came in and demanded money, according to police.

He was shot right after handing over the cash.

Patel’s widow, Bhavana "Bee" Chavada, broke down in tears during the new conference about arrests.

“I miss my baby,” she said through tears.

Chavada said she never says her husband’s name. "I always say ‘my baby,” she said.

Chavada was overcome by grief and emotion and one of Patel's friends read a statement on her behalf.

"May the Lord show them the same mercy that they showed my husband," the statement said. "Going on and about without my husband, with my son, will be hard. I miss him. I still wait everyday, thinking he's coming home from work and he's going to rush through the door, saying 'I'm home baby.'"

Had the shooters come in and say they needed money to feed their family, he would have happily given them money from his own pocket, the statement.

The one thing Patel wanted most in life was a child. After six years of trying, the couple learned that they would have a son, but Patel will never meet his child or be able to hold him.

"We had so much planned. Now everything is gone. My only light is our son. I want the Lord to bring justice upon this incident," the statement says.

"Because of them, my son will never be able to see his father, feel his touch, turn to his during hard times and have ... a father's love," the statement said. "I want my life back. I love him so much. Baby, if you can hear me, please look after our son from above and be with us. I love you, forever and always," the statement says.

Vanderberg will be charged with felony murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery in the murder of Patel.

Sumler, who is also incarcerated in Connecticut, will be charged with felony murder, murder, criminal possession of a pistol and first-degree robbery.

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