Gordon Petty didn't plan to be a convenience store clerk forever. Nor did he intend to continue living in a two-bedroom apartment off Wrightsboro Road.
According to family members, Mr. Petty, 48, had hopes of returning to school at Augusta Technical College, finding a high-paying job and buying a house.
Now it will never happen.
Early Monday, his body was found behind Holiday Market at 3033 Wheeler Road, where he was working the night shift. Investigators suspect he was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun during a robbery, Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry said.
The store's video-surveillance equipment was set on fire. Maj. Autry said even employees couldn't unlock the box where the tape was kept.
Mr. Petty's older brother, Richard, said he was likely working at Holiday Market so his mornings would be free for classes.
A bachelor, Gordon Petty had been taking care of his elderly mother, Grace, since his father died in 1988. He was a cat lover, was popular among his neighbors and spent Thanksgiving serving food to the poor at Church of God Fleming on Peach Orchard Road, relatives said.
"The guy had a big heart," Richard Petty said. "He was a Christian man and a good person and deserved better than this."
Convenience USA, Holiday Market's parent company, is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. According to Chief Operating Officer Charles Ford, the company says only $13 was taken in the robbery.
Gordon Petty grew up in Augusta, attended Butler High School and served in the Navy, his brother said. Before taking the job at the store a few months ago, he had worked in the nuclear industry and at a nursing home.
Richard Petty said his brother once was a victim of an armed robbery when he worked at an Augusta convenience store more than 20 years ago.
"I know the terror he was going through," he said. "It looks like they just walked him around back and executed him."
Anyone with information about the robbery and killing is asked to call Richmond County sheriff's investigators at 821-1080.
Convenience USA is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the death of Gordon Petty. Anyone with information about the robbery and killing is asked to call Richmond County sheriff's investigators at 821-1080.
Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.