He was known as "Bill" to his friends, but to his wife, he was always "Chilly Willy."
"He was ripe, but he was getting better, like a bottle of wine," said Christine Burhoe, 58. "We didn't have kids. Neither of us could have any, but we always had each other. And I'm going to miss him."
William L. Burhoe, her husband of 16 years, was gunned down late Saturday night at the Super Mart convenience store were he worked as a clerk. But before he died, the 77-year-old shot and killed the would-be robber.
The coroner's office identified that man as Yendy Quinones, a 28-year-old who was paroled in October after serving 26 months for assault with a deadly weapon, according to prison records.
Las Vegas police said the gunman entered the store about 11:40 p.m. and placed a beer on the counter just before an altercation broke out and shots were exchanged.
Christine Burhoe said detectives told her that the robber, upon discovering he did not have enough money for beer, left the store. When he came back inside, he brought a gun and shot her husband, she said.
Christine Burhoe called the act "senseless" and said her husband would have paid for the man's beer had he asked.
"He would have paid for it and put his own money back in the drawer," she said. "All this, over a bottle of beer?"
At a vigil Monday evening outside the store, at 6595 W. Smoke Ranch Road near U.S. Highway 95, close to 50 adults and children crowded into the parking lot outside the store to remember William Burhoe.
His wife seemed overwhelmed by the showing.
"I just didn't realize how much all of you touched him and how much he touched you," she told them in between tears and hugs with tearful customers who came to pay their respects.
Many of them came to remember a man whom they knew as generous, humorous and even sometimes ornery.
"He was the heart of our neighborhood," Lorraine Wood said. "Everybody came and went, but he was always there."
Store owner Ed Kashat recalled how William Burhoe welcomed him each day with a joke and how his 300-pound frame reminded him of a "big bear" that you wanted to grab and hug.
He had worked at the store part time for the past three years, making extra money to bet on the horses, he said.
"He loved playing the horses," Kashat said.
Inside the store, Kashat placed donation boxes so customers could give money to help Christine Burhoe.
Outside the store, a makeshift memorial of prayer candles, real and fake flowers, photos and stuffed animals honored a man many called a hero.
Customers talked of William Burhoe's ever-present jokes and the ease with which he would dig into his own pocket to lend a buck or two to a customer.
On a homemade poster signed by more than a couple of dozen well-wishers, one entry stood out. Inside a hand-drawn heart a mother thanked William Burhoe for his generosity.
"Hey Bill. Here's your 50¢ you gave to my daughter," she wrote.
On the poster next to the words were two taped quarters.
Christine Burhoe said her husband was a former Marine police officer who had been an insurance broker and ran his own photography studio, among other jobs during his life, she said.
He had been working at the store to supplement his retirement and fill a financial void created when she lost her job more than a year ago, she said.
They started dating in 1978 and were married in 1993, the year they moved to Las Vegas from Maine, she said.
Coping with his death hasn't been easy, she said.
"I feel like I'm in a prison, trying to find my way out," she said. "He didn't deserve this. That's all I can think about."
Christine Burhoe said her husband was experienced with guns and kept one with him while he worked, but he never used the gun when the store was robbed before, she said.
She didn't believe he would have fired a shot until he already had been struck, she said.
"He wasn't like that," she said.
She later learned from police that after he was shot, her husband lunged forward and fired three times.
Knowing there won't be a trial has helped her through the anger, she said, as a sense of closure.
"It sounds morbid, but I'm glad he killed that guy," she said. "It's the Lord's justice."