Hundreds Gather to Remember Slain Shop Owner

Bassam Naoum was shot and killed inside his popular store on Saturday night

By Dick Johnson
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 2:31 PM CDT
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Hundreds of people gathered Monday night to remember a Near North Side store owner and to decry the violence that took his life just about 48 hours earlier.

So many people gathered outside Bassam Naoum's store, at Oaks and Orleans, that police had to eventually shut down Orleans to traffic in the area.

Naoum, known by "Ollie" to many, was shot six times inside "Munchies Market" on Saturday night.

Those gathered for a candlelight vigil included the 59-year-old's wife, son, daughter and employees, friends and pastors, as well as Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) and State Rep. Ken Dunkin. 

All vowed to catch Naoum's killer. 

"If we know who they are, we need to let somebody know because whoever did this has to pay for it," Burnett told the crowd.

Rep. Dunkin said he was born and raised in the Cabrini Green area and said he was impressed with the outpouring of support.

Naoum was well-liked, those who knew him said, and didn't want to abandon the Cabrini-Green community, despite the violence that wasn't all that uncommon.

"Look how many hearts Ollie touched.  God sent us an angel, ya'll," said Tasha, an employee of Naoum's who wished to only provide her first name.

The family vowed to continue running the business after Naoum is buried and his affairs are in order.

Belmont Area detectives said they continue to investigate the case, but so far no one is in custody.

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