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Homicide victim, 79, had gone to Dollar General to buy candy

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, at 12:53 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, at 6:43 a.m.

Hank Harvey hopped in his car shortly before 8 p.m. Friday to drive about six blocks to buy candy for his grandchildren at the Dollar General store near 13th and Oliver.

He never returned.

Harvey, 79, and Zachary Hunt, 22, a Dollar General employee, were shot to death inside the store shortly after 8 p.m.

An arrest warrant on two counts of murder was issued Saturday for Marquis J. Marshall, 19, in connection with the slayings, Wichita police Lt. Scott Heimerman said. Marshall was already wanted on two outstanding warrants issued about four months ago.

Family gathered at Harvey’s house near Ninth and Oliver to console each other and even laugh and tell stories of the man they described as a mentor, loving and godly.

“He was a wonderful, great guy,” said Joyce Simmons, 64, Harvey’s wife of 24 years. “Everyone loved him.”

They had 10 children between them and a “bunch” of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Some of those grandchildren were filling the house with laughter Friday night when Harvey decided they needed a special treat.

“That was just like him,” Simmons said.

Harvey served in the Army and Air Force. He graduated with a degree in geology from Wichita State University, family members said, and worked in the petroleum and aircraft industries among other jobs before retiring.

Mostly he was a terrific father or grandpa, they said, even to those outside his family.

“My life is better because I knew him,” Sheri McIntosh, a cousin of Simmons, said as she wiped away tears. “He was just wonderful. You could ask him to do anything at any time of the day and he’d come do it.

“Every time I saw him, he was glad to see me and made me feel wonderful.”

Grandson Dante Reed said, “Even when we were down, he was like a magnetic pole that brought people up.”

Roger Hardesty had known Harvey since the family moved in across the street 14 years ago.

“He was a very good man in every form,” Hardesty said. “He was such a godly man.”

The irony of it, he said, is that if Harvey had known that the person accused of shooting him needed help, he would have done what he could.

“That’s just the way he was,” Hardesty said. “He was always helping kids. This is such senseless violence.

“I hope they find that guy soon, because if he’d shoot someone like Hank, just think what he would do to you or me.”

The Eagle wasn’t able to contact Hunt’s family members on Saturday.

Police described Marshall as black, 5-foot-7 and weighing 150 pounds.

“He is considered to be armed and dangerous,” Heimerman said, adding that no one should approach Marshall but should call 911 if they see him.

Police don’t know if robbery was the motive in the shooting.

“As for motives,” Heimerman said, “we haven’t ruled out anything.”

Marshall has been wanted on two bench warrants since early August after he failed to appear in court on a felony theft charge and a misdemeanor charge of consumption of alcohol by a minor, according to Sedgwick County District Court records. Both crimes occurred July 10.

He also was charged twice in juvenile court, including aggravated burglary, a felony, in January 2008 and criminal use of weapons, a misdemeanor, in January 2009. He was given probation in both cases, court records show.

Heimerman gave this account of Friday’s events:

Police responded at 8:10 p.m. to a shooting at the Dollar General at the Providence Square shopping center, formerly known as KenMar.

The two victims were found near the front door and were pronounced dead shortly after police arrived. Customers arriving shortly after the shooting saw the victims and called 911. No other customers were believed to be in the store at the time, but two other employees were in the rear of the store, Heimerman said.

He gave few other details, including how many times Hunt and Harvey were shot or with what kind of weapon. He also wouldn’t say how police knew that Marshall was a suspect.

Asked if there is more than one suspect, Heimerman said, “We don’t know. But what I can tell you is that the time of the shooting (Marshall) was by himself.”

There is no known connection between Marshall and the victims, Heimerman said.

Police also would like to talk to anyone who may have been in the parking lot at the time of the shooting and saw someone run from the store, he said.

Wichita police were on the scene Saturday morning, investigating inside the store and on top of the roof.

Dollar General had a “Closed until further notice” sign posted on its front doors. Several customers came up to the door, then walked away.

“Wow, that’s really close to home,” said Travis Henderson, manager of Easy Home, a store in Providence Square that rents and sells appliances and furniture.

He said he had locked up the store about 7:45 p.m. Friday. He didn’t hear about the shooting until his father called him about 10:15 p.m.

“We have a couple of customers who rent from us and work at Dollar General,” Henderson said. “It’s been relatively quiet around here since I came here last March. There have been a couple of theft incidents at the Walmart, but that’s about it.

“To have that shooting, that’s crazy.”

A Capitol Federal branch sits directly across from the Dollar General. An unarmed security guard greeted customers at the door Saturday morning. The branch manager referred questions to the company’s headquarters.

The shopping center has been renovated with the help of city financing in an effort to improve the area around 13th and Oliver, long known for its crime problems.

In the QuikTrip parking lot on the northeast corner alone, a 2-year-old was fatally shot in 1995, a man was seriously wounded on Thanksgiving Day 2000, a man suffered 11 bullet wounds in 2001, a gang confrontation led to a double homicide at a nearby park in 2002 and a woman was stabbed to death in 2003.

Darryl Wesley, 36, wasn’t living in the area during those years, but he now lives a few blocks away from the Dollar General.

“It’s scary,” he said Saturday morning as he walked through the shopping center’s parking lot. “I thought they had made big improvements, but now this. Wow!”

A church near 13th and Oliver opened its doors Saturday to offer counseling for other store employees, said Lavonta Williams, a City Council member whose district includes the Dollar General. She offered her condolences to the victims’ families and to Dollar General employees.

“I’m devastated,” she said. “The community is upset as well. We’ve done as much as we can to revive the area. This is quite a shock for us, quite a shock.”

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or at rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com.

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