Indian American kills estranged wife, another in church (Second Lead)

November 24th, 2008 - 11:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Jersey City (New Jersey), Nov 24 (IANS) An Indian American man allegedly killed his estranged wife and another person, and critically injured a third, when he opened fire inside a church in New Jersey whose congregation has links with 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.

The police said the accused, 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.

Reshma James was killed, while 25-year-old Dennis John Malloosseril and 47-year-old Silvy Perincheril were injured.

All the three were taken to the nearby St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. James was pronounced dead at about 4 p.m.

Clifton City Police Detective Captain Robert Rowan told IANS that Malloosseril, who received a bullet in his head, died early Monday.

The police said Malloosseril and Perincheril, James’ cousin, were shot at point blank range when they tried to stop Pallipurth from killing his wife.

Perincheril, who was also shot in the head, continued to be in critical condition, the police said.

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

“He is still at large,” Detective Rowan 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.

Reshma James had fled Sacramento and moved in with Perincheril.

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

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