Durham restaurant owner found shot to death behind business

Kabab & Curry House proprietor found shot to death in parking lot

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comDecember 8, 2012 

— Mohammed Arfan Sundal worked very hard, seven days a week, at the Kabab & Curry House, a little hole in the wall eatery he owned on Guess Road.

Just this week, Sundal, 51, promised his four children that starting Sunday, he would take that day off to spend time with them.

The Sunday promise of more time with their father will never happen for the Sundal children.

On Thursday night, minutes after closing time, one of Sundal’s employees found Sundal in the parking lot behind his restaurant at 2016 Guess Road. He was fatally wounded.

The employee ran across the street to a gas station at Broad Street and Guess Road to call 911. Sundal was pronounced dead when police arrived shortly after 10 p.m., according to spokeswoman Kammie Michael.

Sundal, was the fourth of 10 children, nine boys and one girl. He moved to the United States when he was 23 from Gujranwala, Pakistan, a small rural town near the city of Lahore.

Mohammad Sundal, 49, of Hartford, Conn., said his older brother enjoyed playing sports as a child – soccer, cricket and field hockey. “He liked climbing trees,” his brother said Friday.

Sundal dreamed of sending all four of his children – ages 16, 14, 13 and 9 – off to college. He often told family members that he would stop working after all of his children had graduated with degrees.

Favorite place for students

The small restaurant’s specialties included veggie samosa, chicken tikala and naan, an oven-baked flatbread. Sundal had a loyal customer base that included students from nearby Duke University and the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics, along with residents in the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood.

Amado Valencia, who owns the Valencia Record Store, a few doors from the Kabab & Curry House, said Mohammed Sundal was a very nice man who opened the restaurant nearly five years ago.

“I have a little child,” Valencia said. “If my child would get hungry, she could go next door for rice, and he wouldn’t charge her.”

Valencia said he last saw Sundal hours before he was shot. Valencia and his daughter, Elizabeth, were working late Thursday night when a police officer came and knocked on the door.

“I asked the officer what was wrong,” said Elizabeth Valencia, 22, a student at N.C. Central University. “The whole block was filled with police cars. The officer said somebody was shot on the back side of the building. He said, ‘I think it was the restaurant owner.’ ”

Sundal expected delivery

According to a 911 recording made public by the Durham Police Department, a female employee at the restaurant found Mohammed Sundal’s body in the parking lot near his car. The 911 caller told the dispatcher that Sundal was waiting for a delivery, but never came back into the restaurant that normally closes at 9:30 p.m.

Elizabeth Valencia said the woman stopped by her father’s shop Friday and explained that someone called the restaurant at 8:45 p.m.

“After the phone call, he stepped outside,” Elizabeth Valencia said. “It was close to 9:30 p.m., and she noticed that he had been outside for a long time. She went outside to see why he was taking so long, and that’s when she saw him on the ground.”

Mohammed Sundal worked to achieve the American Dream and to build a better future, with opportunities for his children. He purchased a home in Cary two years ago.

“He was a very simple man,” Mohammad Sundal, the brother, said Friday night. “He was a good father. He didn’t have time to do anything else except home and work.”

News researcher Peggy Neal contributed to this report.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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