As Clinton Township police continue to hunt for the three masked gunmen who shot and killed a popular party store owner last week, the reward fund for tips on the senseless slaying is growing.
Detective Lt.Eric Reinke said the reward has increased to more than $20,000 for information on the shooting of Basim “Basil” Sulaka, 51, who was gunned down late Friday during a robbery at Moon Lite Party Store on Harper Avenue north of 14 Mile Road.
“All callers will remain anonymous,” Reinke said.
Police said tipsters don’t have to identify themselves when calling in anything they may know about the shooting. The caller will get a number when they call in a tip to claim a reward if it leads to an arrest.
Police would not reveal how many times Sulaka was shot nor any of the circumstances in the tragic death. Surveillance video shows three masked men bursting into the store and shooting the owner. The attackers wore dark clothing, gloves, caps and ski masks.
Friends and people who frequented the Moon Lite party store had nothing but praise for Mr. Sulaka.
Sulaka, an Iraqi native, came to the United States 32 years ago. He always had a smile on his face and treated all of his customers as his friends, mourners have said.
Clinton Township police Detective Lt. Richard Maierle said it’s one thing to go into a store owned by a hard-working man and rob him, but to kill him is unconscionable.
The violent incident has other party store owners on edge.
Hani Mansour, who has owned Mama’s Pizzeria and Party Store on Jefferson south of Sugarbush Road in Chesterfield Township since 1993, said his heart bleeds for Sulaka and his family and friends. Prior to coming to Chesterfield Township, he owned a party on Grand River in Detroit for 20 years.
He has never been robbed.
Mansour, who is close to many Chesterfield Township police officers who frequent his establishment, said owning a party store is a difficult business to be in these days. He said store owners need to be alert and careful.
“You never know what’s going to happen in the next hour,” Mansour said. “Quite honestly, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen and you cannot do anything about it.”
Mansour, an American citizen who is a native of Iraq who is married and has three young children, refused to say whether he has a gun in his store. He said if someone points a gun at him, he would hand them the money and pray for the best.
“I work many, many hours a day and this job isn’t easy,” he said. “A lot of what I do depends on the economy and you know how bad the economy has been in the past 8 years.”
Visitation for is until 8 p.m. Tuesday at Jerry’s Funeral Home, 18338 12 Mile Road, Southfield. Funeral services will be at noon on Wednesday at Mother of God Church on Berg Road north of 10 Mile Road in Southfield.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Clinton Township police at 586-493-7800, ext. 0, or Crime Stoppers of Michigan, which is offering a $2,500 reward, at 800-773-2587.
Clinton Township Police are looking for three suspects in the fatal shooting of a clerk at the Moon Lite Party Store during a robbery Friday night. The victim is Basil Sulaka, 51, a husband and father of two and a cancer survivor. Those who knew him say he would have given anyone the shirt off his back.
Investigators say three suspects came into the store on Harper around 11pm Friday, just an hour before closing. Their crime was caught on camera along with their faces. We’re told the suspects ransacked the store, robbed it and took Sulaka’s life. We talked to a man who worked for him and knew him well.
He’s ones of those guys who gave lines of credit if they didn’t have money,” the worker told Fox 2. “He did everything for anyone and everybody loved him. This is a sad thing to happen to this neighborhood.”
Flowers and heartfelt condolences now meet those who stop by the store. We’re told Sulaka was in remission after undergoing cancer treatment. He was hours away from a final doctor’s visit.
Crime Stoppers, the Detroit Pub and the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce are offering a total of $17,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest. Call 1-800-SPEAK-UP. You can remain anonymous.