Indian American kills estranged wife in church (Lead)

November 24th, 2008 - 2:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Jersey City (New Jersey), Nov 24 (IANS) An Indian American man killed his estranged wife and critically injured two others when he opened fire at a church in New Jersey whose congregation has links with the Indian state of Kerala, US police said Monday.The incident occurred at 11.44 a.m. Sunday during the weekly mass at the St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton.

Police said 27-year-old Joseph Pallipurath had driven all the way from Sacramento in California in his green Jeep Wrangler to kill his wife, 24-year-old Reshma James, who was at the church.

There were about 150 people inside the church when Pallipurath opened fire from a silver handgun. James was killed, while 23-year-old Dennis John Malloosseril and 47-year-old Silvy Perincheril were injured.

Quoting eyewitness, local daily The Record said Malloosseril and Perincheril were shot at point blank range when they tried to stop Pallipurth from killing his wife.

All the three were taken to the nearby St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. James was pronounced dead at about 4 p.m., while police said the condition of the other two was “very critical”.

Friends of Malloosseril said he was near death and family members were making arrangements to donate his organs.

Pallipurth managed to escape from the church and was still on the run. A case of homicide had been registered against him and the police have released his picture in the media.

“No arrest has been made so far. He is still at large,” a Clifton City Police detective told IANS.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the state police have joined the Clifton City Police in their effort to nab Pallipurath.

The incident has sent shock waves among the large Indian American community in New Jersey.

The Record reported that James had moved to California from India in January after an arranged marriage to Pallipurath. However, church members said the relationship soon turned violent.

“He was beating her. She had a restraining order against him,” said Thomas Abraham Lahayil, the church’s vicar.

James had fled Sacramento and moved in with Perincheril, who was her cousin. Perincheril, a mother of three, used to work as the church’s Sunday school teacher and a nurse at Passaic High School, family members said.

Church members said James’ parents in India had been informed of her death and were headed to the US. They were uncertain whether James’ body would be taken to India for burial.

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