South Sound News

Lakewood convenience store owner stabbed to death during robbery

LAKEWOOD, Wash. — Police say the owner of a Lakewood convenience store who was loved by her customers was stabbed to death during a robbery Monday night.

Lakewood police officers said that at 10 p.m., they were called to a report of a woman who was not breathing at the McChord Mart at 5105 Solberg Drive Southwest.

Officers arrived and found a woman bleeding from multiple wounds.

She was taken to the hospital but did not survive.  Police identified her as the store owner, 59-year-old In Choe.

Officers said surveillance video showed Choe was stabbed multiple times during a robbery.

The victim's son, Elijah Choe, said the attack happened just before the store was set to close.

"I spoke with her, it must have been minutes. Minutes before such a heinous crime occurred," said Elijah.

Customers who learned of her death stopped by the store to pay their respects.

"They call her mama because she's just an open, big-hearted woman. She loved everybody," said Elijah.

"She was a very cool and nice lady. Very generous. Can't say nothing but good things about her," said customer Ryan Davis.

Police released photos of the suspect as well as surveillance video.  Watch the video in the window below.

Investigators said the suspect appears to be a black man in his 20s or 30s wearing a black sweatshirt, blue jeans, white shoes and a dark hat under the hooded sweatshirt, which has a distinct "Disobey" brand logo on the back.

There is no information on a possible vehicle. The man was last seen walking from the scene headed north on Bridgeport Way Southwest.

The victim's son told KIRO 7 his family wants to see the man face justice.

"The sooner the better. We need monsters like this off the street," said Elijah.

Anyone who can identify the suspect is asked to contact Lakewood police and reference case #19-287-01988.

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