Family, friends honor slain Clinton Twp. party store owner

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Although the owner of Bernie's Market in Clinton Township lost his life during an armed robbery a year ago, his memories are still alive."

Friends and family gathered together Saturday for a vigil -- one day after the man who shot and killed Emil Salem was sentenced for his murder.

Salem is credited for saving his son's life during that armed robbery last year.

During Friday's court hearing, Salem's wife forgave the man who will now spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance of parole.

One of her sons who was not in the store on that tragic day spoke about forgiving, but not forgetting.

"That's the number one thing that my father's always taught me and my mother always taught, so you have to take your teachings into actions," said Christian Salem.

Bernie's Market has been a family business on Garfield Road in Clinton Township for decades.

One loyal customer who attended Saturday's vigil shared the last time she saw Salem, shortly before he lost his life.

"I think I was one of the last people to talk to him," she said. "What I did say to him was you have the best sons in the world. And then I looked at the sons and said, 'Always love your dad because he's the only one that you're ever going to get.' And then I left and 10 minutes later, I found out this happened."

A man who many said was generous will live on in the people who knew him.

"He took care of a lot of people -- helped them in the hard times that we had in the past," she said. "(The) family was just very devoted to this community."