KANSAS CITY: A 26-year-old student from Telangana was shot dead by a suspected robber at a restaurant here in the US state of Missouri, police said.
Sharath Koppu, a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UKMC), was shot at about 7 p.m. on Friday at J’s Fish and Chicken Market near 54th and Prospect, where he worked as a part-time employee, The Kansas City Star local newspaper reported.
The police released a brief video of the suspect inside the restaurant moments before the shooting and asked for the community’s assistance in identifying him.
Koppu was a software engineer who came to the US in January to pursue his master’s degree.
Meanwhile, Raghu Chowdavaram, the victim’s cousin, created a GoFundMe account on Saturday to collect money to pay for the body to be returned to India.
It raised $25,000 in three hours.
“He had the same dreams like everyone else, to make it big in the land of opportunity. He had a great sense of humour and always made people laugh and was always eager to lend a helping hand,” Chowdavaram wrote in the GoFundMe account.
A worker at the restaurant told The Kansas City Star that the suspect, wearing a brown shirt with white stripes, had demanded money and pulled out a gun.
As people hid or ran for cover around him, Koppu bolted directly away from the suspect, towards the back of the store.
“(Koppu) ran, so he shot him in the back,” the worker said.
Koppu died after being taken to a hospital.
“We offer our sincere sympathies to Sharath’s family and friends in the wake of this senseless tragedy,” UMKC said in a statement on Saturday.
UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal offered his own condolences in a tweet Saturday evening.
“Sharath and I share an Indian heritage, but all of us at UMKC share in the grief such tragedies bring,” Agrawal wrote.