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Store Manager Attacked Inside Store; Dies at Hospital

9:56 AM, Jul 1, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Stabbing at Hamburg Toys R Us

  • This is the hat Hamburg Police believe the suspect may have been wearing in Saturday's homicide at the Hamburg Toys R Us.
  • Employees arriving to work at the Hamburg Toys R Us were shocked and saddened to learn that one of their fellow workers had been killed on the job.
    

HAMBURG, NY - Hamburg Police are investigating a homicide that took place at the Toys R Us store at Milestrip Road and McKinley Parkway at about 5:45 a.m. Saturday.

Assistant store manager Laurence Wells, 35, of Blasdell, was killed by an unknown assailant sometime between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. Saturday. Police are still searching for the suspect.

Co-workers of Wells tell 2 On Your Side that he leaves behind a pregnant wife and a four-year-old daughter. Trained as a teacher, he took the job at Toys R Us when he was unable to find a full-time teaching position.

Police said five employees were working inside the store prior to opening on Saturday. The suspect forced his way through the front door and attacked the store manager, without the knowledge of the other employees.

Wells was found seriously injured in a store office by another employee at about 5:25 a.m. when he didn't respond to radio calls.

Police wouldn't comment on a motive or cause of death, but according to Rural Metro Ambulance, the victim was taken to Mercy Hospital with multiple stab wopunds. He later died at the hospital, police said.

The suspect is a man between a height of 5'9" and 5'11" who was wearing a Florida Gators Championship cap, which was recovered at the scene. (See accompanying photo.)

Police hope surveillance images will help them identify the suspect, who is seen inside the store at 4:20 a.m. At 4:30, he entered the office and the video ends. It's believed he unplugged the camera at that point. 

"The video is being looked at and we are trying to enhance some images on it. The best evidence we have so far is this hat we've shown you," said Det. Scott Kashino of the Hamburg Police Department.

"For something like this to happen to this guy is really kind of, doesn't sit well with anyone, obviously something like this can never sit well," said Dan Kuntz, a Depew resident, who says he worked with the victim at another Toys R Us location, "but to have known him was to really love the guy, he was the best manager I ever had, best manager anyone could hope to have."

Employees who showed up to work Saturday and learned of the attack were visibly emotional.

They're asking anyone with information about the crime to call the Hamburg Police Department at 648-5111.

WGRZ-TV

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