Indian student from Telangana killed in shooting at Kansas City restaurant in US

K Sharat was shot inside the restaurant in Kansas City, which is near Olathe where Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead on February 22 by a man yelling racial slurs.

WASHINGTON: A 26-year old student from Telangana was fatally shot at a restaurant at Kansas City in Missouri state during a suspected attempted robbery, authorities said on Saturday.

The man, later identified by Indian authorities as Sharath Koppu, was shot by unidentified persons at J's Fish and Chicken Market on Prospect Avenue on Friday evening, Capt Lionel Colon of the local police department told The Kansas City Star.

"We immediately rendered aid in regard to the injuries. Once the fire department arrived, they transported him to a nearby hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased," Colon said, adding nobody was in custody for the crime.

Another police officer investigating the crime said it was believe to be a case of "attempted robbery" and hate crime was not being suspected as of now. Police refused to discuss details, saying it was an active investigation and releasing information could jeopardise the case.

Koppu's death was confirmed by the official Twitter handle of the Indian consulate in Chicago. "Deepest condolences to the family of K Sharat who was victim of a shooting in Kansas City Missouri. Consulate officials are on the way. We will provide all assistance," it tweeted.

Koppu hailed from Warangal district and was pursuing his masters in software engineering at the University of Missouri. He was said to be working part-time at the restaurant in Kansas City.

Two witnesses, who were in a nearby motel, were quoted by The Kansas City Star as saying they had heard five shots coming from the direction of the restaurant. By the time they stepped outside, those involved in the shooting had fled. There was no further information on the shooting and whether one or more assailants were involved.

Koppu's father Rammohan Koppu, an employee of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited in Hyderabad, told the media he had learnt on Saturday morning that his son was wounded in a shooting.

"We were told some miscreants entered the restaurant and started shooting. Two of my son's friends escaped the bullets. My son tried to run away and they shot him from behind," he said.

Rammohan said his son had graduated in software engineering from Vasavi Engineering College in Hyderabad and moved to the US in January. "While pursuing his studies, he was also working part-time in a restaurant there," he said.

Rammohan, his wife Malathi and other relatives met Telangana police chief M Mahender Reddy on Saturday night and sought his help to find out details of the incident. They also sent letters to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Telangana IT minister KT Rama Rao, seeking their help.

The shooting immediately raised concerns if this was another case related to hate crime. Kansas City in Missouri state is roughly half-an-hour's drive from Olathe in Kansas state, where Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead on February 22, 2017 by a man yelling racial slurs.

Adam Purinton, the 51-year-old man convicted of Kuchibhotla's murder, was sentenced to life in prison on May 5.

 

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