KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - A memorial is growing at the antique shop owned by a man who was murdered in his home.
Monday night, sources close to the situation confirmed to 24 Hour News 8 that 74-year-old Bob Medema was beaten to death with a blunt object.
Kalamazoo police announced Sunday they believe Medema was targeted and said they need the public's help in finding whoever is responsible for killing him.
Friends said Medema was at the shop in downtown Kalamazoo until late Friday evening. Sometime between then and Saturday morning, he was murdered in his home on Oakland Drive.
"I was devastated," said friend Lynn Walkowiak. "I cried. In fact, I didn't even sleep good last night."
Police won't yet say how or why Medema was killed, but the townspeople have their theories.
"All I can think of is that he carried around a lot of cash," said community member Jean Harden.
On Monday, his family released this statement:
"First of all we would like to thank the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety for their hard work and concern they have shown us over the past few days. Bob was a very special and unique gentleman that was well known and loved by all who he came in contact with. The family would like to thank our friends and the community for all their prayers, love and support that we have received during this tragic time."
Medema's sister-in-law told 24 Hour News 8 it was a "brutal and cruel" death, though police told relatives not to reveal exactly how he was killed.
She said she believes the motive was robbery since he was known to carry cash and because, she said, he had no known enemies.
Meanwhile, there was an outpouring of support at Medema's antique store, Emporium, from a community seeking healing and justice.
If the impact a man has in life is judged by the size of the memorial after he dies, Medema's was quite large.
Flowers, photographs, cards and meaningful knick knacks like a chair sold 10 years ago and a package of vanilla creme cookies, which frequented the front counter, were placed outside his shop during the weekend.
Friends said Medema was an old-fashioned, face-to-face businessman who believed in the word of mouth. One friend suggested that he created a website for his store and friends said he scoffed at the idea.
Some went to the memorial to leave flowers. Others simply spent a moment in silence for Medema.
One person wrote, "I have never met a greater man."
"He was just a down-home, honest kind of guy," said Harden.
The memorial is an echo of what Medema gave to so many other lives through the business where the "closed" sign was a rarity. Medema opened the doors at Emporium seven days a week.
"He didn't even care whether or not you bought anything," said Walkowiak. "He just loved people and friends."
"We're going to miss him," said Harden.
Anyone with information regarding the homicide is asked to contact Kalamazoo Department Public Safety at 269.337.8994 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.
Thursday 2-4 p.m, 6-8 p.m. at Langeland Family Funeral Homes , Memorial Chapel, 622 South Burdick Street, Kalamazoo
Friday 11 a.m. at Covenant United Reformed Church, 3724 Lovers Lane, Kalamazoo
24 Hour News 8's Ken Kolker contributed to this report.
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