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Vigil for San Dimas businessman tonight; Quiznos to match donations

Quiznos is sponsoring a fund drive for the family of Pravin "Peter" Patel, who was shot and killed outside his San Dimas franchise during a robbery June 2, and customers have organized a vigil for tonight. 

The Denver-based company has pledged to match up to $5,000 in contributions to the Pravin Patel Memorial Fund, said Elizabeth Sapp, senior vice president of communications. 

Quiznos is also collecting contributions from other franchise owners and employees through its nonprofit Quiznos Family Fund, Sapp said.

Patel and his wife, Maya, opened their Quiznos franchise Dec. 31, 2004, in the Fitness Plaza in the 1000 block of West Arrow Highway in San Dimas. 

"He was really well regarded by the rest of the franchise community," Sapp said. "He trained a lot of the franchises in the area, which is an indicator he had a great commitment to customer service, and we were comfortable with him teaching the next generation of franchisees about the best way to run their operation."

Customers have organized a candlelight vigil in front of the store from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday. And Nate Younan, owner of San Dimas Liquor, is collecting funds for the family at his store a few blocks west.

Suspect in San Dimas shooting

The Quiznos has been closed since Patel was shot about 3:20 p.m. on June 2. The suspect demanded money in the restaurant and threatened to shoot the customers if Patel did not comply. 

Patel turned over the money in his cash register. When the robber ran outside, Patel followed him and the two tussled on the sidewalk outside the store. Patel was shot once in the abdomen. The robber ran away. 

The assailant is described as a tall, skinny white man or Latino in his mid 20s. He was wearing a baseball cap, black T-shirt and plaid shorts. 

A reward of $20,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

-- Jeanette Marantos

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