Store clerk burned alive at work, killer sought

Investigators in California are seeking the person who walked into a convenience store last week and killed its well-liked clerk by dousing him with a flammable liquid and setting him on fire.

David Wicks, 54, of Burney, was standing behind the counter of the Rocky Ledge Shell station when the fatal Dec. 21 attack occurred. The Record Searchlight in nearby Redding reported that Wicks' killer immediately walked back outside and rode away on a black bicycle.

The entire 15-second crime was caught on surveillance video, the newspaper reported. Wicks died as a medical helicopter rushed him to a hospital.

The Record Searchlight reported that Wicks was unable to speak when deputies responded to the 911 call placed by a co-worker, who had been working in a back room, but he was able to nod yes when asked if the attack was intentional.

Investigators told the newspaper that a bike matching the description of the one the assailant used was found about four blocks from the gas station. A yellow rain slicker suit matching the one the assailant wore over a black hoodie was found in a nearby trash can.

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Friends of Wicks and his wife, Sonja, who also works as a manager at the Shell station, were struggling to understand why he was targeted. All described Wicks as a nice guy who always had a smile on his face.

"I can't imagine somebody, knowing Dave, why would anybody do this?" co-worker Kris Cantrell told the Record Searchlight through tears.

Mike Gulizia, a truck driver who had not been in the area in six months, stopped by the store the morning after the incident specifically to tell him hello. He was shocked to learn his friend had been killed.

"I could've stopped by three or four other places, but I knew the manager. I knew him," Gulizia told the paper.

Shasta County Sheriff's Office officials said Wednesday that the Department of Justice is reviewing the evidence in the case, the Record Searchlight reported. California state arson investigators are also assisting in the investigation.

Secret Witness of Shasta County is offering $15,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who killed Wicks. A friend has also set up a GoFundMe page to help Wicks' family.

As of Thursday morning, more than $24,000 of the page’s $60,000 goal had been raised.