The incident was reported in the 1200 block of Grand Avenue in South Hempstead just before 7:30 a.m.
Police say 59-year-old Cemal Dagdeviren, of Levittown, was run over by a dark-colored SUV in front of the Pit Stop Gas Station as he attempted to stop the driver.
He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"He was a good man," son Ali Dagdeviren, 35, said. "He was dad. It's not easy for us."
Employees say the suspect was trying to get away with $22 in gas, and Ali Dagdeviren said his father was an auto mechanic who went to help out the gas attendant when the suspect wouldn't pay.
"He was a hard working man," he said. "All he cared about was us, his kids, mom, family."
Authorities released images of the vehicle, an early 90s GMC Yukon or suburban-type vehicle, with front-end, driver's side damage. The front headlight was also removed.
Investigators said the vehicle was not registered.
They also released a surveillance image of the suspect, who appears to be a tall, thin dark-colored man in his 30s. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt and an orange hat.
He tried to use a suspicious credit card, authorities said, before fleeing the scene.
The SUV was last seen heading southbound on Grand Avenue.
Cemal Dagdeviren, who is originally from Turkey, worked at the location for 25 years and is survived by his wife and two sons. His other son is a member of the FDNY.
"We really appreciate them also," Ali Dagdeviren said. "They were really kind yesterday. They were in the hospital trying to help us out. It's very sad."
Friends and family gathered at a vigil Tuesday night to remember the victim. "He always had a smile on his face and he was very sincere," said one of the mourners. "And he would have did anything for you and he would have gave that criminal $22."
Now, the family is now desperate for justice.
"It's crazy for people to kill each other for $22," he said. "That's ridiculous. We need justice. We have to find this guy. He shouldn't be out there."
Anyone with information is asked to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.
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