AUSTIN (KXAN) — Word spread quickly Thursday of the murder of Austin businessman Majid Hemmasi, especially in in the area around Airport Boulevard and Guadalupe Street where he owns AAA Fire and Safety.
Police were called to the business just before 8 p.m. Wednesday and found Hemmasi on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. Neighbors reported hearing between six to 10 gunshots.
An employee at the AAA was also shot in that gunfire, but she escaped inside the store and was eventually rushed to the hospital. She is expected to survive, and employees at AAA on Thursday said that she works as a dispatcher.
The business, which sells fire extinguishers and also performs inspections and fire safety installations, remained open Thursday, though employees were heavy-hearted and visibly distraught over Hemmasi’s death.
“We’re all in shock, we’re trying to keep going as best we can,” one employee said. He described Hemmasi as a very giving person. That’s a sentiment neighbors echoed. One man who asked not to be named said he had been renting a property from Hemmasi for the past year.
“He was good people,” the neighbor said. “People knew him and liked him in this area, he owned a lot of properties all over here.”
Records show that Hemmasi owns dozens of properties around Austin.
Celia Estrada, who rented from Hemmasi for about a decade near the AAA location, said that when she would go in to pay the rent he would always be working late into the evenings. She noted that his employees seemed to stick around and work with him over the years.
“He was always working, traveling,” Estrada recalled. “I would say, ‘Why do you work too much?’ and he said, ‘I love my job and I want to keep it for my family.'”
“I just feel sorry for the family,” Estrada continued. “Because when you lose someone, it’s really hard and I hope they have peace.”
Matthew Counts, the owner of a fire safety company in Austin, knew Hemmasi for nearly two decades through doing business with him. “Majid was a hard working man. He was always joking and playing with his customers,” Counts said, also noting that Hemmasi sometimes seemed stressed out with the amount of work he had to do.
“My heart goes out to his employees,” Counts said.
AAA Fire and Safety does business with many Austin-based public entities. AISD purchases fire extinguishers, vent hoods and maintenance on those supplies from AAA.
Since July of 2016 the Texas Department of Public Safety had at least $49,168 in contracts with AAA, ranging from traffic cones to fire protection equipment.
According to city of Austin records, the city has done a total of $835,800 in business with AAA, ranging from street signs to inspections to maintenance.