A post mortem is scheduled to take place at Northwick Park Hospital on January 11.
Amjad Salaam, 72, who works at a nearby dry cleaners, described Mr Patel as an “honest” and “hard-working” man who would come to his shop to “say hello” from time to time.
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He said: “You can’t even think of any right words to say about it. It’s just dreadful. They have lost a loyal worker.”
Police are looking for two black male teens – one was wearing a red sweatshirt, black jeans and white trainers, and the other was wearing a dark coloured hooded sweatshirt or jacket with dark jeans and a Nike rucksack.
Vijay had been working at the shop along with the shop owner when three teenage boys came in and tried to buy items including cigarette papers.
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Mill Hill is a “very nice, pleasant area”, and the local community would be stunned by the killing, Amjad added.