13-year-old and 15-year-old boys charged with murder in death of store owner

A 13-year-old and a 15-year-old were charged with first degree murder Saturday for the death of store owner Friday in Park Manor on the South Side, according to police, and the victim's family is grieving over their loss.

Mohammed Maali, 33, was a father of three, including twin girls who will soon celebrate their birthday without him.

"His daughter said, 'Is dad in heaven? Is he coming to my birthday?' I was very sad to see that happen," said nephew Mohammad Atiya.

Maali opened this location after his previous store a block away burned down a year ago. He had been in business here for about two months.

"Knowing that kids did this is unacceptable," Atiya said. "Violence is not the anser."

Neighbors remembered Maali as a decent man who treated his customers with generosity and kindness.

"If you were short on change, he'd let you go. If you need milk or something, he'd say just bring it back tomorrow," said Park Manor resident JB McHaney.

Police said the shooting started when four males entered Maali's store about 1:45 p.m. in the first block of East 71st Street and took cash from the register by force. Maali took out his own gun and fired shots, the suspects returned fire and struck him in the chest.

Police arrested the four suspects and recovered a weapon. Among the suspected robbers, a 17-year-old boy was shot in the leg and body and a 34-year-old man was shot in the leg, police said. They were treated and their conditions stabilized. On Sunday, police identified the 34-year-old as Sammy Trice of Park Manor. The 17-year-old, 15-year-old and 13-year-old are not being identified.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.