PHOENIX -- Phoenix police are still searching for the suspects in the 2007 killing of a Circle K security guard.
Charles Saldate, 55, was shot in the front entrance of his home near 23rd and Northern avenues around 12:40 a.m. Friday, June 1. According to police, he had just arrived home from work when we heard a knock on the door and answered it. He was shot through the screen door.
A group of black men was seen fleeing the scene, possibly getting into a 1980s-model white or tan Oldsmobile Cutlass.
Police say the homicide may be related to an aggravated robbery a few months earlier at the Circle K where Saldate worked.
"Homicide detectives believe that this is all linked up, possibly due to either not wanting him to testify against them or whatever had taken place that night," said Silent Witness Sgt. Derek Elmore. "Whatever words were exchanged that night possibly could be motivation for the homicide later."
Around 3:50 a.m. on Friday, March 23, Saldate was assaulted and had his gun stolen after confronting two possible shoplifters at the store near 19th Avenue and Greenway Road.
Elmore said two men each grabbed two cases of beer from the cooler, and Saldate and the clerk suspected they were going to do a beer run. Saldate locked the front door to keep them from leaving and an argument ensued.
One man reportedly grabbed beer bottles from a case and threatened Saldate. The guard grabbed his gun but then put it back in his holster and opened the door to let the men go.
Elmore said the guard was then repeatedly hit over the head with the beer cases and bottles as well as kicked.
"It's such a violent, vicious attack that he's bleeding profusely from his head," Elmore said.
While Saldate was on the ground, one man took his gun and pointed it at the guard's head. Elmore said the man may have pulled the trigger, but the safety may have been on.
Detectives are not releasing whether Saldate was killed with the stolen gun.
The two suspects seen fleeing the Circle K are described as black men in their early 20s with brown eyes and black hair braided into corn rows. They were both at least 5 feet 10 inches tall and 200 pounds. Each man may have a tattoo on his forearm, one of a cross and the other of a woman.
"The two people in the (surveillance) video are definitely suspects, of course, in the aggravated robbery that took place that night," Elmore said. "They match closely to the description of the people who committed the homicide, therefore the detectives have them listed as persons of interest, people they want to talk to, in the homicide."
Elmore said they possibly lived in the area in 2007 and frequented the Circle K.
Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 1-800-343-TIPS. Anonymous tips can also be left online at www.silentwitness.org.
Witnesses could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.