A 25-year-old international student from the University of Missouri-Kansas City was shot and killed in a would-be robbery, the Kansas City Star reports.
The victim, identified by Kansas City police as Sharath Koppu, was shot at approximately 7 p.m. on Friday. Koppu, who was employed at J’s Fish and Chicken Market, located on Prospect Avenue near 54th Street, was working at the time. An unidentified man entered the restaurant around this time, and began firing gunshots shortly after. Patrons at a nearby motel reported hearing five gunshots coming from the direction of the restaurant.
Koppu, a software engineer, hailed from the Telangana state in southern India. He came to the United States earlier this year in pursuit of a master’s degree. A GoFundMe page was set up in by his cousin, in an effort to raise money to transport Sharath’s body to India for a proper cremation. The fundraising campaign raised $25,000 in three hours, and at the time of writing, over $50,000 has been raised. Sharath’s cousin, Raghavender Chowdavaram, wrote the following in the description for the GoFundMe account.
“Sharath Koppu is an Indian Computer Engineer who came to the USA in the month of Jan 2018. 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 restaurant where the shooting took place was closed on Saturday afternoon, with windows barricaded with sheets of corrugated metal. A sign on the front door warns passersby that security cameras are on the premises.
Speaking to the Kansas City Star, a restaurant employee, who wished to remain anonymous, described the contents of extended surveillance footage, which has yet to be made publicly available. The suspect, donning a brown shirt with white stripes, pulled out a gun, demanding money.
As patrons and employees scrambled away or ducked for cover, Koppu took off toward the back of the store, away from the armed suspect. It was at this point when Koppu was shot in the back. The anonymous employee also reported that Koppu did not know how to work the register. He died not long after being transported to a hospital.
The Kansas City Police Department has released a portion of the security footage from the store, which we’ve embedded above. Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. Information can also be reported at the Kansas City crime stoppers website.