Indian-origin businessman shot dead in Lancaster, South Carolina, in US
New York, March 4, 2017
Harnish Patel, an Indian-origin businessman, was found shot dead in the front yard of his house in Lancaster county in South Carolina in the United States late on Thursday night, reports reaching here said, days after an Indian-American engineer was shot dead in a Kansas City bar on February 22.
Local media reports quoted the county coroner's office as saying that Patel, 43, died on the spot.
The reports said Patel was shot about ten minutes after he closed his Speedee Mart store. They quoted investigators as saying that he drove straight home from the store and appeared to have been confronted by the killer when he stepped out of his silver-coloured Toyota Sienna mini-van around 11.30 pm local time.
Lancaster County Sheriff's office said in a statement that Patel had closed his store at 11.24 pm and left for home in his vehicle. Lancaster County officials received calls at 11.33 pm after a woman called 911 to say she had heard screaming and gunshots.
"Deputies found Mr. Patel lying in his front yard a few feet from the side door to his home. Lancaster County Emergency Medical Services personnel responded, as did a deputy coroner, and Mr. Patel was declared deceased at the scene. It appears Mr. Patel suffered gunshot wounds," the statement said.
Investigators processed the scene and collected evidence from the spot and are seeking any information that might be related to the homicide.
“We ask anyone with information he or she thinks might be related to this incident in any way to please contact us,” said Sheriff Barry Faile. “If you saw anything at the store, in the area of Craig Manor Road, or anywhere in between, let us know. Even if you think it is not important, it could be the lead that solves this case.”
The reports quoted Mr Faile as saying on Friday afternoon, as the investigation progressed, that the Indian ethnicity of the victim did not appear to be a factor in the crime. “I don’t have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated,” he said.
In the incident in Kansas City, the Indian-American engineer, Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed and his friend Alok Madasani suffered bullet injuries when an American man shot them in a bar after telling them to "get out of my country".
The alleged shooter, Adam Purinton, 51, has been charged with murder and attempt to murder in what is being seen as a possibly racially motivated attack. A third man, Ian Grillot, 24, also suffered bullet injuries when he intervened in the incident. Purinton fled the scene and turned up five hours later at a bar in an Applebee's in Clinton, Mo. He told the bartender there that he needed a place to hide because he had "just killed two Middle Eastern men", media reports had said.
The bartender called the police and Purinton was arrested, the reports had said. Purinton is a Navy veteran, IT specialist, former pilot and air traffic controller.