SPRING, Texas — Folks headed to the Sunny Side of the Street restaurant in Spring took a quick detour into the dark underbelly of the town after the shop's owner was found murdered Sunday night at his home.
Two men forced their way inside Michael Kusuma's home and demanded money, according to Harris County constables. A neighbor who asked not to be identified said the home invasion happened around 8:30 p.m.
"Somebody had heard gunshots, thought it was fireworks, but it turned out that there had been a murder," she said.
"On Sunday, they were always really busy," Alison Rinehart, a regular at Sunny Side, said. "The place is packed. You're on a long wait."
That means a lot of cash at the end of the night. Police said the thieves shot and killed the 33-year-old and took an undetermined amount of money. They also beat up his younger brother before getting away in a white Infinity.
The Sunny Side restaurant was closed Monday, of course, but that didn't stop folks from stopping by with flowers, candles, balloons and posting messages on the front window.
Tanya Carstensen eats at the restaurant several times a week and had not heard about the shooting. She just stopped to see what all the flowers and balloons were about. When she learned what happened, the tears begin to flow.
"You go somewhere. You see those faces every day. You don't know them by name and then something like this happens," Carstensen said. "I don't have a name to go with that wonderful face, that wonderful personality."
Tracy Pullen is in shock. She had just planned a birthday luncheon Monday at the restaurant.
"I can't believe that would happen in our small little community," Pullen said. "But it seems to be happening more, and it's just awful."
Police are looking to the public for any more leads. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
"We all understand that awful things take place," Cartensen said. "We just wish daily that they wouldn't, and that they don't."