Vigil held for Clinton Township party store owner shot, killed in robbery

3 gunmen target Moon Lite Party Store on Harper Avenue Friday night

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A vigil was held Saturday afternoon for a party store owner who was shot and killed during a robbery Friday night.

Police say three gunmen stormed the Moon Lite Party Store on Harper Avenue in Clinton Township around 11 p.m.

A group of men burst in, ransacked the store, and shot and killed Basil Sulaka, who was in his 50s.

Story: Masked gunmen rob, shoot Clinton Township party store owner

Linda and Basil Sulaka worked side by side every day at the party story they've owned for 18 years. In an instant, that was all taken from them.

"Why would somebody do this?" asked Linda Sulaka.

Basil Sulaka had been married to Linda Sulaka for 21 years. The couple had two daughters -- 19-year-old Bianca Sulaka and 17-year-old Kayla Sulaka. Basil Sulaka's family said they want the people who did this behind bars.

"I miss him. I wish I could've said more things to him that I didn't say," said Linda Sulaka. "My girls didn't even see their dad yesterday."

Basil Sulaka was supposed to finish work Friday at midnight.

"Every single night for 18 years I'd call him," said Linda Sulaka. "I kept calling, he's not answering."

Finally, someone did pick up.

"I go, 'Is this Moonlight?' 'Yeah.' 'Is Basil there?' 'This is police.' My heart dropped, my legs were stiff, I couldn't even move," said Linda Sulaka.

This was the first time the store has ever been robbed.

"Basil would not have fought," said employee Nick Bushon. "If they would've asked, would've given it to him. Anyone who shoots before asking, it's ridiculous."

Basil Sulaka was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer.

"Cancer didn't kill him, a jerk out there killed him -- three low life losers took a guy's life," said Salvana Abbo, Basil Sulaka's sister-in-law.

Police said the men responsible for the armed robbery are still on the run. Police released pictures of the gunmen in hopes the public can help identify them.

View pictures here

While police look for his killers, Basil Sulaka's family is remembering happier times, like the arrival of Shiloh, his constant companion while going through cancer treatment.

"It made him stronger," said Linda Sulaka. "He even liked taking her to work sometimes because he loved her."

On Saturday the Moon Lite Party Store was closed and the tributes keep growing. People gathered at the party store Saturday afternoon for a vigil held for Sulaka.

Basil Sulaka had a doctor's appointment Monday to see if his cancer had come back. His family said they were dreading the visit to the doctors, but now have to plan for a funeral.

Local 4 reached out Saturday evening to the Clinton Township Police Department, who confirmed no arrests have been made at this time.

Crime Stoppers, along with some local businesses, is offering a $15,000 reward for an arrest. If you have information about this robbery, you are asked to call the Clinton Township Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 800-SPEAK-UP.

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About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism