Police: Man Killed was ‘Person of Interest’ in Fatal Robbery
A man was under surveillance in an investigation into the killing of an Indian college student when he was fatally shot during a gunfight with Kansas City police, investigators said.
Three officers were wounded during the Sunday shooting incident that started outside a motel and later moved to a nearby home. Police declined to released details of the officers’ injuries on Monday but said their wounds weren’t life threatening.
Details about the gunman and what preceded the shootings haven’t been released. Police said they planned to release more details Monday afternoon.
The slain man was as a person of interest in the slaying of 25-year-old Sharath Koppu, who was fatally shot during an armed robbery on July 6 at a fast-food restaurant where he worked. Relatives said Koppu was studying for a master’s degree in computer engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The name of the man killed Sunday hasn’t been released, but police said he was under surveillance before he fired a semi-automatic “AK-47-type” rifle at officers. A man who fled from the scene of the first shooting, at the motel, has been taken into custody, though he isn’t believed to have been involved in the fatal robbery or the officers’ shootings, police spokesman Sgt. Jake Becchina said.
Koppu was a software engineer who came to the United States from India in January, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family. His cousin, Raghu Chowdavaram, told WDAF-TV on Monday that Koppu came to Kansas City to chase his dream of earning a graduate degree in computer engineering.
“He was determined to do something very big,” Chowdavaram said.
University Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal expressed thanks in a statement Sunday to the officers who were wounded while investigating Koppu’s death, saying they “risked their lives to pursue justice.”
Jagdeesh Subramanian, president of the India Association of Kansas City, said the robbery and fatal shooting of Koppu appeared random and unfortunately “could have happened to anybody.”