A vigil Sunday will mark one year since two brothers were murdered while working on Labor Day at their family’s store.
The vigil in memory of Khasem Yousef, 23, and Faares Yousef, 17, is set for 6 p.m. outside Snappy Mart, 559 17th St. W., Palmetto. The Palmetto community and beyond were shaken after news broke of the Yousef brothers being shot dead between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2015.
Devin Breon Chandler, 26, of Palmetto, was arrested by Palmetto police as the suspected shooter and later charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of armed robbery with a firearm and a probation violation. Chandler remains held without bond in the Manatee County jail.
“We wanted to let our Muslim brothers and sisters know all they have done for the community, especially the black community,” Wayne Washington, the main organizer of the vigil, said Tuesday evening. “They really do mean a lot to us. We just want them to heal and let them know that they are in our thoughts.”
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Washington, who leads the nonprofit organization Straight Talk, said he wants the Yousef family to know the community cares about them.
We wanted to let our Muslim brothers and sisters know all they have done for the community, especially the black community. They really do mean a lot to us.
Wayne Washington, community leader and vigil organizer
“I just want to let you know about this family that lost two sons — they really touched the community. They have been in the community for over 30 years,” he said. “When that happened at that store, it not only affected Palmetto, it affected Oneco. ... They really mean something to a lot of people and not just because they own a store, but they give people jobs in the community. We do appreciate them. We didn’t want them to feel hostility toward anyone because of what happened to their kids.”
The victims’ family has been notified of the vigil, which will include prayers and speakers among leaders in the community.
Over a week after her two younger brothers were killed, a grieving Nadya Yousef stood outside her family’s business in Palmetto surrounded by relatives and members of the community at a vigil organized by Palmetto Build, a coalition of area houses of worship.
“They were the most valuable thing we had,” she said of Khasem and Faares. “We were humbled by the amount of support we received, from close family to the people we have never met, from people nearby to people all across the world. You have truly helped us honor our brothers in your prayers and presence, and we are forever grateful and ask God to bless you for whatever you have done for us.”
Anyone with questions about Sunday’s vigil are encouraged to call Washington at 941-249-7532.