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Father shot dead by shop raiders

A father of three young children was shot dead after confronting two robbers who attacked him as he closed his shop for the night, police said.

Pragaret Singh, 35, was blasted in the chest and abdomen as he left Manchester Food Traders in Openshaw, Greater Manchester Police said.

Detectives said Mr Singh, known to family and friends as Charlie, is believed to have grappled with at least one of the men before being shot. Mr Singh died later in hospital.

Detective Superintendent Jon Chadwick said: "Although this investigation remains in its infancy, at this stage we believe Charlie's death was the result of simply trying to protect his business from armed robbers, during which he was shot at least twice."

The robbers are believed to have made off with a "large amount of money".

Armed officers swooped on the scene in Wood Street, east Manchester, at 6.20pm yesterday and found Mr Singh, from Swinton, lying nearby.

Det Supt Chadwick added that Mr Singh's family had been left "absolutely and utterly distraught" at his murder.

He said: "At this stage of our inquiry we believe this is the tragic death of an innocent businessman and father-of-three who was simply trying to protect his livelihood from criminals.

"As a result, Charlie's entire family have suffered an unimaginable loss.

"Their lives have been shattered and specially-trained officers will be providing as much support as the family need over the coming days and weeks."

Mr Singh's brother Toggy told the Manchester Evening News his brother was a hard-working family man with a wife, Sukhwinder, and children aged two, five and seven.

He told the paper: "He was robbed of his life. He was happy, jolly and full of life - he never said anything bad about anyone. He was the kind of person who'd go out of his way to help anyone in need."

Assistant Chief Constable Zoe Sheard said there would be a visible police presence in the area for the coming days and weeks.

She added: "I would also urge people to ensure their security measures are in place, such as making sure any CCTV is working, looking out for anyone suspicious hanging around the area and being aware of your surroundings when locking up."

Police described one of his assailants as black, in his 20s or 30s, tall and slim. He was clean shaven with "spiky knotted hair" and wearing a jacket with the sleeves rolled up.

They are also searching for information about a small silver car, possibly a Vauxhall, which may have been used and which drove off towards Ashton Old Road after the shooting.

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