The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office on Monday identified Gurminder “Gary” Parmar, 56, as the man who was found shot to death at Tokay Liquors late Friday night.
According to the Lodi Police Department, officers responded to the report of an unresponsive clerk at the store, located at 8 E. Lockeford St., at about 11 p.m. Friday.
Upon arrival, officers found Parmar, who owns the business, had suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. Officers and paramedics attempted life-saving measures, but Parmar was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
“He was just a nice guy,” Estate Crush Owner Bob Colarossi said. “He was always in a good mood. He was generous, thoughtful and kind. I can’t imagine what his family is going through. I really feel for them.”
In the 12 years since his tasting room has been located across Sacramento Street from the store, Colarossi said he had never seen any kind of criminal activity.
“There is a fairly large contingency of homeless people moving around the area,” Colarossi said. “But I haven’t seen anything that could be described as criminal. Especially not a shooting.”
Lodians commented on the department’s Facebook post about the incident, remembering Parmar as a man who was a friend to everyone. Some on the post called Parmar “Boss man.”
“He was the best,” Carmen Bernasconi said. “Always happy to see us when we would come in. Very sad for his family. Praying they find the person responsible.”
Noah Silva said Tokay Liquors was his family’s “go to” store in the 90s when Parmar bought the business.
“Me and my brothers would walk down there everyday for some drinks and candy,” Silva posted. “He was a great guy. So sad, he will be deeply missed by everyone in Lodi. I’m sure everyone has made a pit stop there.”
In 2012, Parmar was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after shooting an unarmed man between the neck and shoulder.
The victim, 21-year-old Christopher Driggers, had stolen beer from the store, and Parmar fired one round at him as he attempted to flee, police said. Driggers was taken to a local hospital and survived his injuries.
While state law says a citizen is allowed to use deadly force when their life or the life of someone nearby is threatened, police said Driggers never had a weapon or threatened Parmar during the incident.
Charges against Parmar were eventually dropped.
Parmar’s murder is the second of the year in Lodi, following the Oct. 9 stabbing death of a man at the Black Bear Diner.
It was the first time in the city’s history that a store employee or owner had been killed at their place of work, according to archives.
Police are asking anyone with information to call 209-333-6727 or Detective Ryan LaRue at 209-333-6873. You may also contact the Lodi Area Crime Stoppers at 209-369-2746 to remain anonymous. Reference case 20-6433 when calling.