The acts shone a spotlight on a part of south Oklahoma City residents say is fraught with crime and overrun with gang activity.
Cude, the store owner, watched over the shopping complex, keeping his eye on goings-on at the busy commercial intersection, workers at the wireless store said.
Lucky's Liquor was closed and locked the day after the shooting, and the store owner's blood stained the pavement outside.
Amid the bustling commercial activity, residents say there is a seedy element in this part of the metro area.
“He would look after the store, after us,” Porras said. “Because we're surrounded by hobos, drug addicts and alcoholics. It's pretty dangerous to work here. He was always lookin' out.”
Gangbangers sit in the parking lot late into the night through the morning across the street at 7-Eleven, said Gary Warden, who lives nearby and commutes at 3 a.m. to the north side of the metro area to deliver doughnuts for Krispy Kreme. The youngsters regularly accost customers outside the store, said Warden, who carries a knife for protection.
He pulled that knife at the 7-Eleven last week on young men who approached him and demanded to know where he was going, scaring them off, he said.
“Midnight until daylight — they ram that place, and the law won't touch 'em.”
Warden felt police could be much more aggressive to stop loitering and prevent crime in the area, but workers at Cricket said they often see squad cars, which provides a sense of security.
Perez, the wireless store employee, said she's got to get to work either way. Less than 24 hours after the violence that went down outside her workplace windows, she helped a customer hash out a technical issue with a cellphone.
“I have to come in. Even though this happened, I gotta forget it and just do what I have to do here.”
Zachery Morton was looking forward to talking with his friend Lucky at Lucky's Liquor on Tuesday afternoon. He was surprised to find the door locked and shocked to hear what had happened.
“He's a good person,” Morton said of Cude, who he and others call ‘Lucky.' “And this is a tragedy. It's hard to believe.”
Cude is a husband and a father, and he cherishes his new granddaughter, Morton said. Morton likes to buy wine for his sisters, who live in the neighborhood. He and his wife were friendly with the Cudes, and often talked about restaurants, retirement and travel at the shop.
The robbery at his friend's store upset him.
“It's senseless. It is senseless, and it is getting out of hand over here,” Morton said.
He questioned if the police action was too rushed but said he didn't want to judge the officers' actions.
“I'm ex-military, and I don't want to say anything bad about anybody. It seems kind of a rush. The guy had a right to try and defend his store.”
Morton left the liquor store to try and find Cude at a hospital.
“I don't understand this stuff,” he said. “This is a crazy world.”
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