Hate Crime? Telangana student, 25, Sharath Koppu shot dead in US restaurant; see suspect on CCTV
A 25-year-old student from Telangana, Sharath Koppu, studied at the University of Missouri, Kansas City was shot dead in United States restaurant on Friday evening. He used to work at the restaurant J's Fish and Chicken Market, and moved to the United States earlier this year.
The incident was described as an armed robbery and the police have launched a manhunt for the suspect. According to the police, Sharath was working at the restaurant when was shot around 7 pm local time. They found him lying in a pool of blood when they arrived on the scene. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Witnesses NDTV spoke to said Sharath was shot in the back trying to run from the would-be robber. "The others ducked behind the counter but Sharath turned around and began to run in the opposite direction when the gunman opened fire. Sharath was shot in the back and soon fell to the ground," Shahid, who runs the restaurant J's Fish and Chicken Market, said.
On Saturday, the police released a surveillance video of the suspected shooter seen in a brown and white striped shirt. In a tweet, they 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.
Sharath grew up in Telangana's Warangal district and graduated from an engineering college. He had moved to the US for a master's degree after leaving his job as a software engineer in Hyderabad.
Sharath's family was informed of his death on Saturday and has contacted Telangana's NRI minister KT Rama Rao, seeking help in getting the body back. Indian consulate officials in Chicago have also promised all help in getting the body back to India.
Raghu Chowdavaram, who describes himself as Sharath's cousin, has set up a crowdfunding campaign to send financial help for Sharath Koppu's family in Warangal. By Sunday, the campaign had collected over $45,000.