'The sweetest guy that I knew': Oshawa pawn shop employee gunned down outside store
Details are starting to emerge about the man fatally shot in the parking lot outside an Oshawa pawn shop late Thursday evening.
Speaking with the media Friday morning, Sgt. Joanne Bortoluss identified the victim as Michael Nigris and said that he worked at the Cash Connections store in the “Teddy’s” plaza where the shooting occurred.
Shortly before 8:30 p.m., police were called to the area of King Street West and Park Road South and located a male who had been shot.
Bortoluss said “numerous” people unsuccessfully attempted to perform life-saving measures on the 30-year-old Oshawa man Thursday night, but he died at the scene.
Area resident Ashley Berkuta knew Nigris as she’s a regular Cash Connections customer.
She said Nigris was the “sweetest guy” she knew and was the son of the store’s owner, Danny Nigris.
“No matter what type of day you’re having (Michael) always made it so happy, so bright,” she shared, calling him a “generous” person who gave customers a break if they were late with a payment.
“He’d let you come in the next day or when you had money or whatever. You couldn’t ask for a better friend.”
Berkuta said she heard the news of Nigris’ death shortly before 10:30 p.m. last night when a friend called her to let her know he’d had been shot.
Area resident Ashley Berkuta holds up a photo of Oshawa murder victim Michael Nigris. Berkuta said she knew the victim as she's a regular customer at the Cash Connections pawn shop where he worked.
Wearing a Cash Connections ball cap given to her earlier this week by the victim, Berkuta told reporters that said she rushed over to the plaza, which was blocked off and filled with police cruisers, to find her friend on the ground outside his family’s business. His truck was nearby, she said.
“I thought it was all a joke with April Fool’s coming, but it wasn’t a joke,” she said.
“He did not deserve (to be shot). No one deserves (that).”
In a Facebook post shared early Friday morning, Cash Connections Oshawa said the victim worked at the store.
“Valued customers, late last evening one of our employees was shot and killed outside of the store,” they wrote.
“The store will be closed until Monday, April 3rd, at minimum. We will keep everyone updated. All buybacks and layaways due during this time will be extended at no extra charge. Family and staff are grieving and ask for privacy at this time. Anyone with any information, please contact the DRPS Homicide.”
Police say that they’re searching for one male suspect in connection with the homicide and have located their vehicle nearby. The suspect is only described as male with a small build. He was last seen wearing a dark hooded sweater and dark pants.
Durham police continue to investigate the fatal shooting of a male late Thursday night at a plaza in Oshawa.
Officers are also conducting an evidence search related to the homicide at nearby Dundee Park at Waverly Street North and Dundee Avenue.
Bortoluss said investigators are also in the process of speaking to witnesses and gathering information, including collecting and going through surveillance footage from the shopping plaza where the murder took place.
Anyone with any information, including video footage, is urged to contact DRPS’s homicide unit or Crime Stoppers anonymously.
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