ANTIOCH (AP) — A Northern California gas station worker who was killed in an armed robbery this week was a hardworking father who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Afghanistan for a better life, said stunned family members.
Mohammad Ataie, 57, worked seven days a week, nine hours a day at a gas station in Antioch to send two of his three older children to college, TV station KTVU ( reported.
“I don’t believe he’s gone,” widow Sarah Ataie told the news station in Farsi, her daughter translating.
“He didn’t tell me he was leaving me. I can’t believe it.”
Antioch police say an officer observed the robbery inside the Valero Gas Station Monday and fired his gun, striking the suspect in the torso. The suspect fled but was found dead Tuesday.
Police have not released his name.
Ataie’s son, Tabesh, 23, said he couldn’t understand how anyone would kill his father.
“I heard the guy jumped the counter and pistol whipped him,” he said. “My dad was knocked to the ground.”
Sarah Ataie said that her husband’s Fourth of July tradition was to bring home fireworks for his children to light. He died a day before the holiday.
She said they had been married 25 years. Their youngest child is 16.
His daughter, Nedah, said she can’t believe her father is gone.
“I miss his smile,” she said, crying. “I was his only daughter. He called me his baby girl, his angel. I don’t feel like it’s real, like I’ll come home and he’ll be sitting on the couch.”