Mukeshbhai Patel moved from India to America about 10 years ago in search of a better life for his wife and their two sons.
Patel, 51, was a family man who worked hard. He was a man of honor and an all-around great man, Jack Shah, a longtime friend of Patel and family spokesman, told the Herald-Leader.
"Like most of us, we come to better our future and make sure our kids get an education," said Shah, who is also from India.
Patel was killed Monday afternoon while working at the Marathon gas station at 1758 Alexandria Drive. A customer found him inside the station just after 3 p.m. Monday and called police. Patel, who was working alone at the time of the shooting, died at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.
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Police have charged Travis Michael Bredhold,18, with Patel's slaying.
Shah, 50, said the loss was a huge blow to Patel's family.
"They're absolutely torn apart," said Shah. "The sons miss their father. They're crying 24/7."
Shah said the Patels all lived together: Patel's sons, who are 18 and 15; his parents, who are in their mid-80s; and Patel's sister, who suffers from hypertension. His wife and sister work for Shah at a Georgetown hotel.
Patel had been working at the Marathon gas station for two years, and many knew him as "Mike" or "Shorty."
The owner of the station, Harry Singh, told the Herald-Leader that Patel had limited time to respond to the robber. That was confirmed Wednesday in court documents.
According to a police affidavit filed in court, surveillance video inside the Marathon station shows the robber demanding cash from Patel.
"As the victim was cooperating, the subject was observed shooting the victim, then making his way behind the business counter to remove currency from the cash register," the affidavit states.
Singh said the robber entered through the back entrance and fled in a stolen Nissan Altima with a few hundred dollars.
Detectives moved quickly on the case, releasing a surveillance image Monday evening. By Tuesday, officers obtained an arrest warrant for Travis Michael Bredhold. Moments later he was arrested at Fayette Mall.
Court documents said Bredhold had two marijuana cigarettes, various drug paraphernalia, $568.77 in cash and a loaded .380-caliber handgun when police arrested him.
In addition to murder and robbery, police have charged Bredhold with theft, trafficking marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and carrying a concealed deadly weapon.
Clothing used in the robbery was found later inside the stolen Nissan, which was found abandoned in the Cross Keys areas off Alexandria Drive, court filings said.
According to court documents, the owner of the car later provided police with a photograph of a "suspicious subject." That person later was identified as Bredhold, according to the paperwork.
Bredhold told police that he stole the car and admitted driving it for several days before leaving it, according to court documents.
Both Shah and Singh were pleased about the arrest of Bredhold, but Shah said the arrest has done little to fill the void Patel's family feels.
"Nothing can replace their loss," Shah said. "They're not the type of family to hold grudges against anybody ... When you look at it, the 18-year-old's life is ruined too."
Bredhold, who according to court documents was known by the alias "Young Red," has had several brushes with the law since he turned 18 in June.
According to Fayette County court records, Bredhold was arrested in August after allegedly breaking into a Shell gas station on New Circle Road. He was indicted last month on charges of third-degree burglary, criminal mischief, receiving stolen property and theft. He pleaded not guilty.
On Nov. 27, Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone released Bredhold after giving him an unsecured bond.
Bredhold was ordered to stay away from the gas station and appear for a pretrial conference Dec. 2. He failed to do so. On Dec. 4, Bredhold was arrested on another offense. The court filing did not detail that arrest. Scorsone instructed Bredhold to go to pretrial after he was released Dec. 7.
Bredhold did not appear for his scheduled pretrial, which was the day of the shooting. He is scheduled to appear in court Friday for all of the aforementioned charges.
As for the most recent case, Bredhold appeared in Fayette District Court on Wednesday via video for arraignment.
Robert Friedman, his attorney, entered a not-guilty plea for Bredhold. Afterward, Friedman said these are just allegations, not proven charges.
Bredhold is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 18. for a preliminary hearing.