In a living room on Unruh Avenue, the ambience was black: Black couches. Black table. Black eyes.
And Touria Elkaied sat there solemnly last night, barely able to speak. She was dressed head to toe in black.
It was the color of strength, class and death. It was the night of mourning.
Her husband, Aly Elkaied, was gunned down by a robber Monday night in the pizza shop he had owned with his partner. A gunman fired the shots before employees disarmed and restrained him. Aly Elkaied could not be saved.
Touria Elkaied, who married the 44-year-old Arabic man last August, said that Aly was a good husband and a good friend. She said that Aly came to the U.S. 11 years ago.
She said that he was a family man and that he coached young children to play soccer once a week.
"He's a kind person," she said. "He likes to help people."
A pitcher of water, a box of tissues and some food sat on the table in front of her last night. Those close to the couple huddled around, trying to make sense of something that made no sense. One read from the Quran, and his voice shook.
Mohammed Moukaouim, 66, a neighbor, described Aly Elkaied as a peaceful, religious man. He said he chanted prayers for peace to help Touria get through the night.
"We cannot leave our girl alone," he said. "We've got to support her."
Toby Skversky, 65, lives across the street from Elkaied, and expressed surprise after hearing what had happened. She sees the Elkaied family come and go.
"I'm in a state of shock," she said. "They're very nice people. They always kept to themselves."
Another neighbor, Joe Jage, 55, said that the Elkaieds were good people.
"They were nice people," Jage said. "They came over to see my fish pond."
Both said hello to him. Jage said he last saw Elkaied a few days ago, working on his green station wagon.
"It's a shame," Jage said. "There's a lack of respect in this city - not only the city, it's everywhere. It's ridiculous."
Jage said Elkaied was "hoping to get out of the neighborhood" where Carnival Pizza was located "and go somewhere else."
A neighbor who lived near the shop on 23rd and Clearfield streets said that Elkaied was a nice person.
"He would give kids chips and soda from the store," said the neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The store had been robbed at least once before.
The neighbor said that she heard the shooting, "then all the cops came" within seconds.
The store was locked down with gates yesterday, and a police vehicle was parked in front.
Police Sgt. Charles Coan said that Aly Elkaied had been found on the floor of the pizza shop suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.
The suspect is said to be a black male in his early 20s. Police did not immediately identify him.
Coan said that he faces charges of murder and related offenses for the incident.
Sgt. Frank Hayes said that Aly Elkaied had been taken to Temple University Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 11:37 p.m. Monday.
Today Aly Elkaied's body will be flown back to his native Egypt for burial.
His funeral in the U.S. will be held today. *