Shawn Martin was a regular at the Edmonds 7-11 store on Highway 99, stopping by every day — and that’s how he came to know Nagendiram Kandasamy. “I’d seen him every day on the way home from work,” said Martin, adding Kandasamy “always said ‘hi,’ always waved.”
The morning of Feb. 21, Martin saw the 64-year-old Kandasamy one more time, slumped behind the counter of the store. Martin remembered it was 4:57 a.m., exactly. He will never forget it. That was shortly after police say a gunman burst into the 7-11, leapt onto the counter and fatally shot Kandasamy.
On Saturday, Martin — an Edmonds resident — sat at a table at Edmonds Lutheran Church, gathered with a few dozen others to remember and pray for the man whom he said always had a smile, and who worked hard to raise a family.
“I went hey, hey, hey, come on man and he wasn’t responsive, barely breathing”, Martin said, adding that now “I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I went back to work; I couldn’t do it.”
That’s why Edmonds Lutheran Pastor Tim Oleson opened his church to the community; to provide a place to share the pain, the fear and the memories. Said Oleson, “We did it for people who have been touched… it’s nice to know you’re not alone.”
Jim Crocoll laid flowers at a memorial candle and touched the prayer shawl the church congregation made for “Nagi” — that’s what he called his friend of 25 years. “It was always about his kids, getting his kids an education so they could thrive in the world,” Crocoll said. “That’s what Nagi’s goal was. And, he worked so hard.”
Then, tears in his eyes, Crocoll added: “I know if I did not show here today, I’d be letting my friend down.”
Saras Singh and Kathy Bates, who had never met before, shared a table and found they, too, shared Nagi’s life. Singh had shopped often at the 7-11 and came to the church to show her respect: “It’s really heartbreaking, really sad,” she said, “and I love the community for doing this… because we don’t feel safe (with the shooter) being loose.”
For Kathy Bates, this day was personal. “I work with his wife,” Bates said, adding, “She is a wonderful, kind, gentle person, a gentle soul.”
Bates thinks Edmonds Lutheran gave this community a gift by opening its doors. “It’s what we need: more community and more love for one another,” she said.
Edmonds police are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect. You can find more details on the incident as well as the suspected getaway vehicle in our earlier story. In addition, the 7-Eleven Corporation and Crimestoppers have offered rewards totaling $11,000.
Kandasamy’s coworkers have set up a GoFundMe page for his family.
— Story and photos by Bob Throndsen