DETROIT – The Midwest Independent Retailers Foundation is offering a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the shooting death of Lewis Putrus.
Putrus, 77, was leaving D & D Liquor Land on Schoolcraft around 11:07 p.m. Saturday when he was shot and killed.
“We have seen too many of these killings of people trying to operate an honest business,” said Auday Arabo, president and CEO of the Midwest Independent Retailers Association.
Putrus was leaving his brother’s business at the time of the shooting.
“These senseless killings need to stop,” Arabo said. “Why can’t these criminals take the money and just go? Many store owners help out a lot of their customers in the neighborhoods; they serve and give or loan money at various times when people are in need. There was no reason to kill this 77-year-old grandfather of 10.”
Police say there were multiple suspects in the incident. When the victim exited the store, suspect one came from around the corner and demanded money from him while pulling out a gun. The victim did what he was told. The suspect turned to a 56-year-old witness and also demanded money from him.
Police say a second suspect came around the corner of the building towards the victim. At some point, the witness told police that he heard two or three gunshots.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Both suspects fled the location; one went back around the corner of the building while the other ran west on Schoolcraft.
A handgun was recovered near Putrus’ body. The investigation is ongoing.
“In 2012, longtime member and store owner Fred Dally was killed outside his business, The Medicine Chest, and his murder is still not solved,” Arabo said. “We offered a $50,000 reward at the time of Dally’s murder.”
Dally, 63, once led MIRA as the chairman of the board, an organization representing 4,000 independent retailers in Michigan and surrounding states. His murder is still unsolved.