Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao on Sunday visited the family of Sharath Koppula, the 26-year-old student from Telangana who was shot dead by an unidentified person at a restaurant in Kansas City in the US state of Missouri.
Sharath Koppula, who was studying in University of Missouri, Kansas City, was critically injured when a man fired at him at J's Fish and Chicken Market located at 5412 Prospect Ave in the city. He was rushed to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
KTR met with the family of the deceased at their Hyderabad residence along with state minister Srinivas Yadav and Deputy Chief Minister Kadiyam Srihari. Hyderabad Mayor Bonthu Rammohan was also present.
"Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed his anguish at the death and instructed his ministers to immediately visit the family of the deceased. We are in touch with the Chicago Consulate as well as our officers here. Since it is a murder and the police are still investigating the case, it might take a little time for the body to return home," KTR told reporters after the meeting.
"We asked his parents to stay strong and assured them of our support. In case they wish to travel to America, we told them that the state government would arrange for an emergency visa and bear all costs of the travel for the family. We are also willing to make arrangements if his friends want to travel to India with the body," he added.
The identity of the killer, motive behind the killing and other details were not known, but the police suspect that it was a robbery attempt.
Sharath hailed from Warangal town. After completing his engineering at the Vasavi College of Engineering in Hyderabad, he was employed at a software firm in the city. He moved to the US to do an MS this year.
"The mother is understandably, under great distress and we have asked doctors to check on her health. We reiterate that the family has our support," Srihari told the gathering.
The University of Missouri, Kansas City also released a statement, which said: "We are deeply saddened that Sharath Koppula, a graduate student in Computer Science at UMKC, was killed last evening during an armed robbery at a restaurant where he was assisting family friends. Sharath was an international student and his family in India has been notified. We offer our sincere sympathies to Sharath’s family and friends in the wake of this senseless tragedy. Our campus leadership is reaching out to Sharath’s family and friends and we are making counseling services available to members of our university community."
The Kansas City police published visuals of the suspect and said that he was seen in a brown and white shirt.
An eyewitness who worked at the restaurant, told the local Kansas City media that the suspect pulled out a gun and demanded money from the restaurant owner.
People present in the restaurant ducked for cover and Sharath tried to run towards the back of the store, which was when the suspect shot him in the back.
The Kansas police have announced a reward of $10,000 for any information of the suspect.
“Anyone who recognizes this suspect is encouraged to contact the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477) or through the P3 app or at www.kccrimestoppers.com,” the Kansas police stated in a press release.