Jackie Ehrlich was 7 years old in the summer of 1971 when her mother got the phone call at the beauty parlor. Ehrlich still hears her mother's screams, "Is he dead?!! Is he dead?!!"

Stanley Kotler, Ehrlich's father, was dead, killed on the afternoon of July 2, at Katz' Market, his family's store near Dupont Circle at 1269 23rd St. NW. The store had been robbed at gunpoint numerous times and a family friend recently had been killed in a similar robbery

According to police, customers had to be buzzed into the store by an electronic device, and the suspect was let in and asked for a beer. When Kotler, 37, turned toward the cooler, the man shot him in the head.

Kotler's mother, who had fled with her son from the Nazis during World War II, was also working at the store. The 63-year-old woman confronted the gunman, begging him to kill her, too, the family said. Instead, the gunman pistol-whipped her and fled.

The killer has never been arrested, and this year marks the 40th-year anniversary of Kotler's death.

"It's unbelievable how much it's impacted my life," said Dale Kotler, a musician who was 6 at the time. "To grow up and not have the father figure, to never knew a male figure with grandfather dying in Holocaust. ... Not a day passes that I don't think about it."

Said Ehrlich, who to this day carries a tattered photo of her father, "We've always felt shortchanged."

D.C. police cold-case supervisor Sgt. J.C. Young said in cases like Stanley Kotler's, like those of the city's more than 4,000 unsolved homicides, detectives hope that someone who knows about the shooting has a change of heart and comes forward with information. That person can call police at 202-727-9099.

"It's an unfortunate incident. It should have never happened, but the family still needs some closure," Young said.

Ehrlich, of Boca Raton, Fla., said she's dealt with the killing by imagining that the shooter ended up killed by someone else.

"I pray that he's already dead," Ehrlich said. "That's how I've always pictured it in my head."