Friends mourn convenience store owner gunned down in robbery

Family and friends are mourning the loss of a “good Christian” man, husband and father of six who was shot and killed during an armed robbery inside his Loris convenience store Monday morning.

“He would always brighten my day,” said Chris Barlow, who wept and prayed outside of the locked store at 1044 S.C. 9 Business East in Loris Monday afternoon. “He was always caring about everybody else.”

Bloody shoeprints stained the floor inside the locked store Monday. Barlow, a retired nurse, said the sight of blood usually doesn’t bother her, but the sight of her friend’s blood was too much to bear.

Horry County police responded to an armed robbery alarm at the Loris Market & Beverages store around 10 a.m. and found the store’s owner, Edy Boudagh, dead from an apparent gunshot wound. Boudagh was 45 years old.

Once on the scene, police discovered they were on the hunt for two suspects captured in surveillance footage inside the store and spotted by witnesses in the area.

The surveillance images were distributed through the media and tips from the public started lighting up phones in the Horry County Police Department.

Horry County officers, detectives, a bloodhound tracking team and agents with the S.C. Law Enforcement Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Fugitive Task Force saturated the area, according to Lt. Raul Denis of HCPD.

Officers decked in camouflage and carrying ArmaLite rifles walked along S.C. 66 scanning the woods around 2 p.m. Monday as police turned cars away from a section of S.C. 9 Business.

Residents in the area were encouraged to stay indoors and call police if they noticed anything suspicious. Parents seeking to pick their children up early from school were turned away by officers manning the intersection of S.C. 9 Business and Heritage Road.

Horry County Schools officials ceased all outside activity at Loris Elementary, Loris Middle and Loris High schools Monday afternoon and urged parents to pick up their children on a normal schedule. The schools’ doors are always locked and remained secured during the manhunt.

Police apprehended the two men they believed to be responsible for the armed robbery and homicide after a nearly four-hour long manhunt. S.C. 9 Business was reopened to traffic shortly after 2 p.m. Officers appeared happy to have the suspects in custody.

But outside the Loris Market & Beverages the mood was somber.

Edy Boudagh of Loris died from trauma caused by a gunshot wound, according to Horry County Deputy Coroner Darris Fowler.

Horry County councilman and volunteer firefighter, Paul Prince, whose campaign headquarters neighbors the Loris Market & Beverages, said he rushed to the store after hearing the call Monday.

Prince said Boudagh was like a son to him.

“Edy Boudagh is one of the finest friends I’ve ever had,” Prince said. “I don’t know if anybody could say one hard word about him. He was just a good, generous, God-fearing person.”

Prince used to operate the convenience store before leaving the business in the 80s. He sold the store to Boudagh and his family about five years ago.

Prince said Boudagh was a good Christian man, who read the Hebrew Bible on a daily basis and offered hope and blessings to everyone who entered his store.

“Everybody that went in there he didn’t worry about whether they bought something or not, he wanted to let them know that God was first,” he said. “I’ve seen many, many times people didn’t have enough money to pay for their stuff and he’d say, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just come back when you’ve got some money.’ You know, you don’t see many stores like that this day and time.”

“I’m going to miss Edy. I sure am,” Prince said.

Barlow, who lives about a mile from the Loris Market & Beverages, wept outside of the store Monday afternoon. She tied a cross to the door.

Barlow had kept the cross in her car during her many travels to Tennessee to be with her ailing sister, but now it seemed more fitting on his door, she said.

She said Boudagh always prayed for her to have safe travels and prayed for her sister who is battling terminal cancer.

He would always tell her to stop by the store on her way back home from Tennessee so he knew she made it back safely, she said as tears spilled down her cheeks.

The suspects will be identified once they are formally charged, Denis said.

Emily Weaver: 843-444-1722, @TSNEmily

Claire Byun: 843-626-0377, @Claire_TSN

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