HERTFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – Deputies are investigating the apparent ambush of a business owner found dead inside his vehicle on Highway 561.
Sheriff Dexter Hayes says investigators found 59-year-old Uday Manik, of Conway, shot several times in the driver’s seat of his car. The vehicle came to rest in the westbound lane of Highway 561, near the intersection of Highway 305, according to Hayes.
A passerby called for help after driving past Manik’s vehicle, which was stopped in the middle of the road with busted out windows. The shooting happened about five miles from the Sunoco gas station and food mart in Aulander, which Manik owned and operated.
“Uday was a great guy. He was very loving,” says Joy Lee, who closed the business Thursday night with Manik.
Lee says the two left around 9 p.m. Manik was found dead before 9:15 p.m.
Sheriff Hayes has not released a motive, but family members and co-workers believe the business owner was targeted for his money. Lee says Manik left Thursday night with less than $500 in his cash bag.
“You could have just taken his money. You didn’t have to take his life,” says Lee.
Manik’s death marks the sixth homicide in Hertford County this year.
“We are tired. We have to do something to put a stop to it because it’s hitting too close to home,” says Courtney Winborne, a community activist.
Winborne organized a candlelight vigil outside the Sunoco, where a growing memorial continued to build Friday night with cards, candles and flowers.
Customers say Manik was gracious and giving.
“If you were short in funds, he would tell you to come back and give it to him whenever,” says Frankie Moore.
Family members stopped by the scene of the shooting Friday afternoon.
“The family is in shambles, but we’re trying to hold up,” says Dhyanesh Patel, Manik’s son-in-law. “I think somebody knew he closes the store at that time and might have some money with him.”
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has been asked by the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office to help detectives with the case.
10 On Your Side is still working to find out if Manik was robbed after being shot and if the shots came from another vehicle or elsewhere.
Anyone with information is asked to call (252) 358-7841.
Stay with WAVY.com for updates in this developing story.