March 10, 2014

‘Armed and dangerous’

Officials hunting suspect in convenience store killing

By Christopher Smith

— In one photograph, the alleged murder suspect stares confidently at the camera. Perfectly applied makeup. Pink lipstick. Earrings dangling.

In the other image, the alleged murder suspect is dressed in all black. Face obscured by a hood. Wearing white gloves. Not looking at the camera.

The person believed to be in the two images — 21-year-old Skyy Mims, whose last known place of residence is Detroit, Mich. — is the only suspect in the alleged murder of a male clerk at the Hi-Tech Fuel gas station at 3385 Airport Road in Dalton late Sunday night, according to the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. Local and state law enforcement officials are hunting Mims, who they consider “armed and dangerous,” and have issued murder and armed robbery warrants for her. Anyone who sees or knows Mims is asked to contact law enforcement immediately by calling 911.

Deputies responded to a 911 call placed at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday from a person who went into the store and saw the clerk’s body on the floor, Sheriff Scott Chitwood said. The name of the clerk was not released pending notification of family.

Capt. Rick Swiney with the sheriff’s office said investigators are “releasing very little” information during the investigation, including motive, any weapon or weapons used, what was stolen or why Mims is considered armed and dangerous.

Swiney said law enforcement officials do not know if Mims is still in Whitfield County.

“We don’t know,” he said. “People need to consider her dangerous. If they see her, contact law officials immediately.”

Late Monday, the sheriff’s department released what they say are two images of Mims. One appears to be a professional headshot while the other is a raw screen capture of surveillance video from Hi-Tech Fuel from Sunday night. In the surveillance video, Mims is wearing a black hooded jacket, black pants, black shoes and white gloves. A black bag is across her shoulder and body.

Swiney said he did not have any vehicle information to release to the public Monday night. When asked if anyone should be looking for a Michigan license plate, Swiney said “no,” but declined to elaborate due to the “ongoing investigation.”

Maj. John Gibson, also with the sheriff’s office, deferred all questions to GBI investigator James Harris, who is overseeing the case. Harris wrote in an email that he could not release any more information Monday night.

“We are still working the case,” Gibson said.

While authorities were tight-lipped about the investigation, people who said they knew the victim spoke more freely.

Ron Williamson, who works for Birva (the company that owns the gas station property, previously Kanku’s) identified the deceased clerk as “Dicky,” who was from India and was in his mid-30s.

Williamson said the weapon used to kill him was likely a knife or sharp object used from behind. He believed the attack was thought out. The clerk was not behind the front counter at the time of the attack, Williamson added.

“Things like this happen unfortunately,” he said. “You’re by yourself and you’ve got to wait on customers and you never know if they’re ticking time bombs or whatever. You never know.”

Williamson said the man who was killed was “one of the best night cashiers around.” Williamson said he managed the gas station when the property was owned by Kanku’s for about four years before taking an “advising, interviewing, hiring role” when ownership changed in March 2013.

Williamson could only speculate as to why the clerk was murdered.

“He was very, very nice,” Williamson said. “He was a great guy, he smiled all the time. He was super nice. An outstanding person.”

Jay Chaudhry, who said he was a close friend of the man who was killed, said the “entire community has been shocked.”

“One cannot describe what we are feeling, especially when we have to talk to his family in India and tell them what happened,” Chaudhry said. “He came over here (to America) to support his family, live a good life, and someone killed him last night. It’s horrible. We have no idea (why this happened).”

Chaudhry said the person who was killed was the only member of his family to immigrate from India.

“He’s the only one from the family who was here,” Chaudhry said. “If somebody knows about this, please come forward. To our knowledge, there were three other people here when this happened. If those people came out and tell the police what they saw it would help. We want them to help the police.”

Both Swiney and Gibson said they were not aware of any others who may have witnessed the alleged homicide.

“She (Mims) is the only one we feel like is involved,” Swiney said.

Throughout Monday, Hi-Tech Fuel was blocked off by police tape and later cartons and crates placed out by friends of the victim. Several sheriff’s office vehicles patrolled the area or remained parked in the Kangaroo gas station across the street.

Chaudhry said the victim’s family and friends “have a lot of trust in the police.”

“We hopefully get justice,” he added.