‘Hearts heavy’ in Brundidge after robbery-homicide

Published 9:16 pm Thursday, July 25, 2019

“Today, hearts are heavy in the City of Brundidge.”

That’s how Brundidge Mayor Isabell Boyd described the mood of the city of 2,000 in the wake of a robbery/homicide that occurred there early Wednesday morning.

The mayor spoke briefly at the press conference held Thursday morning to inform the public about the robbery/homicide at J&S Buy-Rite convenience store at 6 a.m. Wednesday at 120 East Troy Street in Brundidge. The victim of the homicide was a 30-year-old employee, Neil Purush Kuman, a graduate assistant at Troy University.

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Boyd said it is a bad time for Brundidge and its citizens.

“We don’t even want to think that something like this could happen in our town,” she said. “But it happened. As a community, we are deeply saddened for the family of the young man who lost his life. Our prayers are with them and will continue to be. Nothing like this has happened in our town before. Our prayers are that it will never happen again.”

Buriece Gracey, State Farm Insurance agent whose office is on the city’s South Main Street, said, too, that the mood in town is one of sadness.

“I’m so sad for the family, as I’m sure we all are,” said Gracey, who knew the victim. “It is not surprising for a robbery to occur, even in a small town, but for a life to be taken in the attempt was shocking, so unnecessary and so sad. But the crime has not caused me to be afraid, rather to be more cautious.”

Thursday, the day after the robbery/homicide, the town of Brundidge was especially quiet. The conversations of those who gathered at Pinckard’s convenience store focused on the crime that occurred about 100 yards up the street.

Denise Mency, a four-year employee at Pinckard’s, was “devastated” to know that a robbery/homicide had been committed in her town.

“We are not like that,” Mency said. “We are not that kind of people. But there are people like that so we have to be more aware of what is around us and also more cautious.”

Mency said a police presence around opening and closing times would be greatly welcomed by those in business in the downtown area.

Anthony Foster, who owns a barbershop in the downtown area, agreed.

“A police presence would give us a greater sense of security,” he said. “But, what we have to do now is go on the defensive and be more cautious. We have to fix up our town, move forward and keep going. We have to do that if our town is going to survive.”

Britt Thomas, Brundidge City Clerk, said the homicide was brutal and so senseless.

“But robbery/homicide is not unique to Brundidge,” Thomas said. “It is symptomatic of what is going on all around the country. I’m told that convenience stores have been robbed at Hamilton Crossroads, Ariton and Clio. So, we all have to be alert to any suspicious activities and report them.”

The numbers to call to report any suspicious activities are 334-735-3333 and 911.

A reward of $4,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the robbery/homicide that occurred at J&S Buy Rite in Brundidge on July 24, 2019. Anyone will information is encouraged to contact the Brundidge Police Department, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department or the Troy Police Department. Other agencies assisting in the investigation are the District Attorney’s Office, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Pike County Coroner’s Office and Troy University Police.