By Bobby Bryant, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Domino’s Pizza at 510 Pearl St. in Darlington was open for business last week, but it wasn’t business as usual.
For one thing, employees were carrying a load of “shock and grief and sadness,” said the restaurant’s owner, Osman Qasim. “People walking around with a heavy heart.”
For another, half of the restaurant’s proceeds for the early part of last week – Monday, Jan. 28, through Wednesday, Jan. 30 – were being donated to the family of longtime Darlington Domino’s employee Abdul McKenzie, who was shot and killed while delivering pizzas late at night on a rural Darlington County road.
McKenzie, 39, was found dead in a car on Rogers Road near Larry’s Drive just before midnight Saturday, Jan. 26, according to the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office and the Coroner’s Office. Qasim said the vehicle was McKenzie’s personal car, with a DOMINO’S sign on top.
McKenzie had worked for the Darlington Domino’s for nearly 20 years, Qasim said. For most of that time, Qasim said, he had been a delivery driver: “He just liked to deliver.”
“People are just shocked,” Qasim said. “He was a wonderful, gentle team member for 20 years. Just a wonderful human being.” And a big fan of Marvel’s Spider-Man, Qasim said. “We lost a wonderful human being to something senseless. … We just hope justice will be served.”
McKenzie’s last Facebook post, from Jan. 21, said that he was watching the Bruce Willis/Samuel L. Jackson thriller movie “Glass.” He wrote: “Mind blown.” McKenzie also jokingly said on his Facebook page that he worked for the Night’s Watch at Castle Black – a reference to the “Game of Thrones” books and TV series.
McKenzie lived in Timmonsville, according to an obituary on the web site of Henryhand Funeral Home of Kingstree, which was handling his funeral services. His services were Saturday in Lake City. His obituary says that he was a graduate of Lake City High School.
McKenzie leaves behind a wife, Trinity Sampson McKenzie, and three children. A GoFundMe web page has been set up for them under the title Remembering Abdul McKenzie.
Sampson McKenzie said in a statement: “Abdul was a good man and great husband and loving father of three girls.
He is one of the kindest, most giving (people) I have ever known. … He showed everyone the utmost respect and love. … He bothered no one. He had no enemies, so we are outraged and broken” by his slaying.
One resident posted on the News & Press’ Facebook page: “The police better catch the killer before the citizens do. Everyone loved Abdul.”
Another reader posted: “This is so sad. Prayers to this family! My grandkids cried when they found out it was Abdul! He brought them lots of pizzas through the years! We need to pray really hard they catch the worthless person that did this.”
The State Law Enforcement Division was assisting the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation. Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee called it a “senseless death.”
Domino’s Pizza Inc. has been supportive since the shooting, Qasim said. The company confirmed last week that it is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Jenny Fouracre, Domino’s director of public relations, told the News & Press in an e-mail: “It is my understanding that there is a $7,500 reward.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (843) 398-4501 or CrimeStoppers of the Pee Dee at 1-888-CRIME-SC. You don’t have to leave your name to share information with investigators.