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South Side grocer shot in face, abdomen

Updated: October 6, 2011 9:22PM

The man behind the cash register at the 71st Street Market on South Rhodes often told customers not to worry if they didn’t quite have enough money for the bill, or he might throw something in for free — if he thought someone would otherwise go hungry.

“It would be something to stick to your stomach — enough to make your kids full,” said Nikki Scott, 35, a regular customer.

But Wednesday night Scott and others stared in disbelief at the yellow police tape around the perimeter of the market in the Park Manor neighborhood as they learned their beloved grocer was shot in an apparent robbery.

Police said a gunman entered the market about 6:50 p.m. and shot a 53-year-old worker — a man neighbors knew only as “Chris.” The grocer was shot in the face and abdomen and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, police said.

The gunman ran from the store and was not in custody Wednesday night.

Customers said Chris and a brother owned the store, and that they were from the Middle East. He greeted customers with a broad smile, a joke and sometimes even a little dance. “If you came to him and said, ‘My kids ain’t got nothing to eat,’ he’d give you a whole meal,” said Nikki Scott’s sister, Lashata Scott, 28.

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