The violent slaying of a popular 81-year-old known for dressing up as Santa who was gunned down in her South Philadelphia store on Christmas Eve left her family searching for answers and police searching for the killer.
A man dressed in all black walked into Marie’s Grocery Store at S 6th and Titan streets around 8:50 a.m. Saturday and fired around one dozen shots at owner Marie Buck, said investigators.
Medics rushed Buck -- who lived on the block -- to Jefferson Hospital where she died a short time later, said police.
Buck's family spent Christmas trying to come to terms with a reason that someone would kill their beloved mother -- a woman who dressed as Santa every Christmas Eve as part of family tradition -- in such a violent manner. [[408332775, C]]
Buck's family said she owned the store -- where a memorial of flowers and candles continued to grow Monday -- for nearly 44 years. Buck's daughter, Maria Buck, called her mother an angel. Many people in the neighborhood called her "Aunt Marie."
"When you were short changed, or whatever, she'd help you out that's the type of person she is," said longtime customer Wanda.
Homicide investigators gave no update on their investigation Monday. Police didn’t reveal a motive for the shooting but robbery didn't appear to be a reason considering the gunman took nothing from the store, which Buck's husband had convinced her to give up in the New Year.
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An 89-year-old worker witnessed the shooting but no surveillance cameras captured the shooter, said police.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Philadelphia Police.