The body of Sharath Koppu, a student from Telangana who was shot dead by a suspected robber in the US, will be brought back to India by the Telangana government.
Sharath, a 26-year-old student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UKMC), was shot dead on Friday night at a restaurant in Kansas City in the state of Missouri.
KT Rama Rao, Telangana’s Minister for NRI Affairs, told reporters that the state government would bear all the expenses to bring back Koppu’s body to Hyderabad by Tuesday.
Along with his cabinet colleagues Kadiam Srihari and T Srinivas Yadav, Rama Rao also visited the student’s house at Ameerpet in Hyderabad on Sunday and consoled the family members. He said that the government is ready to make all necessary arrangements for Koppu’s family members if they want to travel to the US to bring the body.
Rama Rao added that the state government was constantly in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in the US.
Earlier today, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj expressed grief over the death of the Indian student and assured all required assistance to the family of the deceased.
“Kansas incident – My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. We will follow this up with the Police and provide all assistance to the family,” Swaraj tweeted.
“I have spoken to Sharath’s father Shri Ram Mohan Reddy in Hyderabad to convey our heartfelt condolences. We have offered that in case a family member wishes to go to Kansas, we will facilitate the US Visa. Else we will bring the mortal remains at the earliest,” she added.
“An Indian student became victim of shooting in Kansas City, Missouri. We r in contact with his family & police. We will provide all assistance. Our officers are also on the way to Kansas City (sic),” the Consulate General of India in Chicago had tweeted on Saturday.
Sharath, a native of Warangal, had gone to the United States in January this year to pursue his Master’s degree in software engineering.
He was working at J’s Fish and Chicken Market when he was shot. According to reports, the police found him in a critically injured state, lying in a pool of blood, and rushed him to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Quoting witnesses, an NDTV report said while others at the restaurant ducked behind the counter seeing the armed man, Sharath tried to run and was shot in the back.
While the identity of the killer is not known yet, the police have said the motive appeared to be robbery. They have launched a hunt to nab the suspect and released a surveillance video of the shooter seen in a brown and white striped shirt.
In a tweet, the Kansas City Police Department asked anyone with information to call on 816-234-5043 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. The police are offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to charges in the murder.
Looking for this suspect in the robbery & murder of 25-y.o. Sharath Kopuu at 5412 Prospect last night. Sharath was from India and is a student at UMKC. $10,000 reward for info leading to charges in this (& every KCMO murder) https://t.co/qUxkcItwXf
— Kansas City Police (@kcpolice) July 7, 2018
Local media reported that people in the vicinity heard five gunshots coming from the direction of the restaurant.
Sharath’s father, Ram Mohan, and mother, Malati, are in a state of shock since receiving the news of his death on Saturday.
Ram Mohan, who works in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), had appealed to Sushma Swaraj and Rama Rao to help in bringing his son’s body home.
Raghu Chowdavaram, Sharath’s cousin, has set up campaign on a crowdfunding website, gofundme.com, seeking financial help for Sharath Koppu’s family in Warangal.
Within three hours, he had collected $25,000 against a target of $40,000. By the time the campaign ended, Chowdavaram had been able to raise $50,892 in total, with as many as 1,595 people pitching in with help in 17 hours.
“Sharath is known to his family and friends as full of dreams, cheerful, energetic and athletic. In the pursuit of his dreams, he moved to USA to do his Masters. He had the same dreams like everyone else to make it BIG in the land of opportunity. He had a great sense of humor, and always made people laugh and was always eager to lend a helping hand,” the page reads.
Earlier, the university issued a statement offering condolences to the bereaved family. “We offer our sincere sympathies to Sharath’s family and friends in the wake of this senseless tragedy,” UMKC said in the statement on Saturday.
UMKC Chancellor C Mauli Agrawal took to Twitter to offered his own condolences.
“Sharath and I share an Indian heritage, but all of us at UMKC share in the grief such tragedies bring,” he posted.
With a heavy heart I wish to share my deep sympathy and condolences with family and friends of Sharath Koppu, a UMKC student who fell victim to senseless violence last night. Sharath and I share an Indian heritage, but all of us at UMKC share in the grief such tragedies bring.
— Mauli Agrawal (@MauliAgrawal) July 7, 2018
The killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla
Sharath’s killing comes exactly two months after a US Navy veteran who killed Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was sentenced to life in prison.
In March this year, Adam Purinton, 52, had pleaded guilty to the charges of murdering Kuchibhotla in a racially motivated hate crime at a bar in Kansas City on 22 February 2017.
Purinton was charged with first-degree murder of Kuchibhotla, 32, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shootings of his friend, Alok Madasani, and a bystander, who chased Purinton after he fled the Austin’s Bar and Grill located in Olathe city.
Purinton, yelled, “Get out of my country,” before shooting Kuchibhotla, who later died from injuries sustained in the attack.