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‘Everybody calls her mama’: Beloved store owner killed during Lakewood robbery

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LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- A makeshift memorial is forming outside the McChord Mart in Lakewood, and it's sure to grow throughout the day as family, friends and customers mourn the stabbing death of beloved store owner In Choe.

Choe, a 59-year-old grandmother affectionately known as "Mama San," was killed in her store Monday night during a robbery.

Beloved store owner In Choe was killed during a robbery in Lakewood.

"Everybody that comes through our business here calls her 'mama.' That should tell you a lot," her son Elijah Choe told Q13. "They call her mama because she's just an open, big-hearted woman. She loves everybody. She's always been the type of person that would sacrifice everything for the ones she loved."

Police looking to identify this man.

Police said they responded about 10 p.m. Monday to reports of a person not breathing at the McChord Mart at 5105 Solberg Drive Southwest.

When officers arrived, they found Choe bleeding from multiple stab wounds. She was taken to a hospital, but died from her injuries.

The suspect, whose face was captured on surveillance video, was seen taking off on foot on Bridgeport Way SW after Choe was stabbed.

Choe's son said he typically closes the store himself around 10:30 each night, but last night his mother had told him to pick up their dinner. That's why she was alone when the "monster" came into the store, her son said.

The suspect appears to be a black man in his 20s or 30s wearing a black sweatshirt, blue jeans, white shoes and a dark hat under the hooded sweatshirt.  The sweatshirt he was wearing has a “Disobey” brand logo on the back.

If you recognize the suspect or have any information, call 911.

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