THE BRONX - Police are searching for two men they say shot and killed the owner of a Bronx hat store.

Authorities say the incident Tuesday night on East 167th Street was a robbery that quickly escalated, ending in the death of the store owner, who was affectionately known as "Smiley."

Muriel Simon, who frequently shopped at the store, says the store's owner would accommodate any request she had.

"If I was short on trying to buy a hat for my baby, he would say, 'Here, go. It's a baby,' " she says. "But to shoot someone over a hat?"

Many in the community say the loss is a big blow to the community and hope the store's surveillance cameras will help police catch those responsible for the shooting.