GOSHEN — How many victims were there?
Counting the dead, two. However, that math leaves out the larger community.
Saleh’s Market at 401 Middlebury St. in Elkhart was a place where proprietors would extend credit to customers who couldn’t pay the full amount. Sometimes customers simply got their goods for free.
William Sinclair talked about the market in Elkhart Circuit Court Thursday. He talked about the store owner, Jagtar Bhatti, and employee Pawan Singh. He recalled both men while the man who shot and killed them waited to hear his fate.
Kevin L. Moore, 29, Elkhart, was ultimately sentenced to 120 years in the state Department of Correction for the September 2013 slayings. During a previous hearing in Circuit Court, Moore pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the felony murder charges.
Sinclair, a cook, still lives in the apartment above the market where the killings occurred. He described Bhatti and Singh as generous men who would befriend and be kind to people in need in the neighborhood. Kevin Moore was one of them.
“They were very, very spiritual people,” Sinclair said of the murder victims.
Sinclair shared an anecdote about Singh. One day Singh was wearing a nice shirt, and Sinclair said he liked it. Singh took off the shirt, donned a T-shirt and handed the finer clothing to Sinclair.
“He literally gave you the shirt off his back,” Deputy Prosecutor David Francisco said.
“Literally,” Sinclair confirmed.
Public Defender Cliff Williams said Moore endured “a hellish upbringing” and a tremendous amount of abuse growing up. Francisco later added that Moore turned to the streets and became a gang member, and that he had run-ins with the law in Chicago. The prosecutor also said Moore had four prior felony convictions.
Williams said his client is remorseful.
“It is tragic for the family members,” he said of the shooting. “It is tragic for the community.”