COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The Columbus community gathered Monday night for a candlelight vigil, one week after local businessman Amit Kumar Patel was killed while trying to make a deposit at the Synovus bank on Buena Vista Road. 

People from all walks of life came together to mourn the beloved father, husband and friend. They said goodbye in the same spot where Patel tragically lost his life. 

In the midst of a mourning crowd, a little girl who turned three years old last week… on the very same day her father was killed. Guests sang and said prayers for the Columbus businessman, whose life ended too soon. Among those in attendance were representatives from Synovus bank and the Columbus Police Department. 

Patel was the owner of the Pyramid gas station on Buena Vista Road and a respected member of the Columbus community. 

Business partner and close friend Vinnie Patel says the heartbreak of the family is indescribable. He recalls fond memories of working with Amit; his daughter would often be on Facetime, asking when her dad would come home to play.

After Amit passed away, his daughter thought the framed picture of her father was him on the other end of a Facetime call. She innocently talked to his picture, not knowing why he was not answering on the screen.

“She said daddy talk to me, daddy talk to me. But she doesn’t know he’s not there.”

Vinnie Patel, Close friend and business partner

Patel was laid to rest on Sunday. At his funeral, every seat was filled. Congressman Sanford Bishop posthumously sent Patel’s family a certificate of congressional recognition for outstanding achievement, service and public distinction. 

As people went up to pay their respects to the open casket, the three-year-old daughter thought her father was asleep. 

“She said daddy daddy can you wake up, can you wake up, can you talk to me? But she had no clue her daddy can never get up and talk to her, play with her and all the memories she had as being a three year old.”

Vinnie Patel, Close friend and business partner

To conclude Monday’s vigil, guests laid their candles in front of the bank where Patel was killed — saying a final goodbye through a moment of silence. 

As the family grieves, they are asking the community to help fill the shoes that this man left behind. A GoFundMe page has been set up to ease the burden on the family.