Slain Arlington shopkeeper Tommy Wong known for kindness and generosity, son says

As Arlington County police continued to search for the killer of a Columbia Pike jewelry store owner, the victim’s son on Sunday described the slain shopkeeper as a dedicated family man who was known for his kindness and generosity to friends.

Tommy K. Wong, 52, was killed Friday about 4 p.m. during a robbery at his store, Capital Jewelers, at 3219 Columbia Pike, his son confirmed Sunday.

“He was a great father. He’s always been hard-working and very dedicated to his family,” his son, Desmond Wong, 25, said at the family’s home in Herndon. “He was a great husband to my mom.”

Police said the shopkeeper was found dead inside the locked store shortly before midnight Friday after family members contacted police because he had not returned home. Surveillance video showed the suspect wearing a brightly colored traffic vest inside the store. Police said the suspect was inside the jewelry store for less than 20 minutes and that he took jewelry.

In Virginia, a slaying during a robbery can be charged as a capital offense and could carry the death penalty in the event of a conviction in the case.

Officer Dustin Sternbeck, an Arlington police spokesman, declined to identify the jewelry store victim or provide additional details about the crime when reached Sunday.

It was the second killing within days in a jurisdiction that rarely has homicides. Three days before the fatal armed robbery, an apparent murder-suicide in the Fairlington neighborhood became the county’s first homicide in more than two years.

The store was registered to Wong and his wife, Elizabeth. Tommy and Elizabeth Wong had been married about 26 years and owned the store for about six years or so, his son said. Customers who reviewed the shop on Yelp.com praised him for his quick handiwork and kindness. One customer wrote that he kept the store open late once so that the customer could pick up a repaired piece of jewelry after leaving work.

“It’s just a shame to have him pass away in such a tragic way,” Desmond Wong said, adding that the family was too distraught to say much more.

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