Indian-American store manager shot dead

August 11th, 2008 - 11:10 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 11 (IANS) The police are looking for clues to the murder of an Indian store manager who was robbed and shot dead by unidentified assailants while walking to work before dawn in Delaware. In the second such attack targeting the community within a week, Kanubhai Patel, 46, was found outside Christiana Skating Rink after suffering a single gunshot wound Saturday, the News Journal reported.

Gary Fournier, a state police spokesman, was quoted as saying that police had no suspects or motive so far.

Patel had left home at about 4 a.m. to open the Dunkin’ Donuts next to the skating centre. He managed the store where he worked for about five years and usually opened in the morning, family members said.

After being shot and robbed in the darkness, Patel died on a grassy area next to the skating centre’s parking lot. Fournier would not disclose how much money was taken, but said Patel routinely carried cash for the store’s register.

Patel’s wife, Ramila, who also works at the Dunkin’ Donuts, left home with a co-worker and walked to the store at about 5 a.m. When they arrived, the door was locked and Patel was not inside.

Jay Patel, the co-worker who was with Ramila Patel but is not related to the couple, said that they were puzzled but decided to walk back to their home at Cedar Wood Apartments to get another key to the store.

While crossing the parking lot as the morning light dawned, they saw the body on the ground. As they got closer, they realised who it was.

“It’s my husband,” Ramila screamed. She ran to him, saw he had been shot and was not breathing, and called 911 on her cell phone. Police pronounced him dead at about 5.30 a.m.

“This is so tragic,” Fournier said. “A hardworking person is going to work and out of the darkness is gunned down. It’s one of those horrible things.”

The couple had been married for about 20 years. They moved to the US from western India in 1999 and had lived in Delaware about five years. They have two grown up children who live in India.

Patel, who was known as “Kanu”, spent most of his time working at the store or worshipping at his Hindu temple.

A 62-year-old Indian immigrant Inder Jit Jassal, a store clerk, was shot dead at a convenience store in Arizona state last week by an African-American man even as the assailant’s minor sons watched.

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