'A special woman with a heart of gold.' Co-workers mourn ShopRite cashier killed in hit-and-run
Amidst the holiday rush at a ShopRite in Stamford, employees took time to remember one of their own Wednesday, setting up a memorial to Marie Jean-Charles, 74, at the edge of the parking lot. The tribute included flowers, candles and balloons. A group of her co-workers stood around it for a moment of silence. One wiped her eyes, some appeared to pray, and another blew a kiss to the memorial.
Jean-Charles was a cashier at ShopRite for 25 years until she was killed on her way to work Tuesday. It happened just before 6:15 when Jean-Charles was hit by a car that never stopped as she crossed West Main Street near Alvord Lane after getting off the bus. Jean-Charles died at the scene. Police said based on her injuries, the driver was likely speeding.
Stamford police now have the car involved, thanks in part to the community. A traffic camera up the street caught it driving off, but police couldn't identify the make or model until they released the pictures to the media.
“We literally had 10 phone calls identifying the exact car—the exact year, make, and model,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Booth. “It was a 2003 Acura TL.”
Booth told News 12 police ran the car through their system, got an address for the owner and later seized the car by warrant. They couldn't comment on whether they think it was the owner or someone else driving but said an arrest won't come until all the evidence from the car is processed.
“That includes swabbing for DNA, swabbing for blood evidence on the outside of the vehicle,” Booth explained.
The process will take time, and as the investigation continues, Jean-Charles won't be forgotten. There’s now a picture of her at her register with a message from coworkers. It reads: “You were more than just our associate, you were more than just our friend, and you were a special woman with a heart of gold. We will miss your cheerful smile, your laugh, your well wishes to all of us and your positivity. You were truly one of a kind and you will be missed dearly. You were always #5 on the register but you were always #1 to us.”
“We lost one of our good employees,” ShopRite store manager Aamir Seyal told News 12. “She will be missed by so many customers."
“Even if there was an open register nearby, customers wanted to wait in line just to speak with her and have their groceries rung up by her,” added assistant store manager Travis Wilson.
The Cingari family, who owns 12 ShopRite stores in Connecticut including the location where Jean-Charles worked, shared the following statement with News 12:
"Our hearts are very heavy today. Marie Jean Charles was a cherished part of the Cingari ShopRite family for 25 years. She will be missed by employees and customers alike. And of course, we are thinking of her family and loved ones."