Sharath Koppu, a 25-year-old graduate student from India studying at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, fell victim to an armed robbery at the restaurant where he was working in Kansas City on Friday, July 6, when he was fatally shot in the back by the robber.
Men at a nearby motel told the Kansas City Star that they heard five gunshots from J’s Fish and Chicken Market near 54th and Prospect Street at around 7 p.m. on Friday in which Koppu was shot and pronounced dead later on at the hospital.
One of Koppu’s cousins, Raghu Chowdavaram, has created a GoFundMe account to pay for Koppu’s body to be returned to India, in which he has written that Koppu was a software engineer who came to the United States in January to pursue his master’s degree.
Chowdavaram has raised $50,862, which is at least $10,000 more than the initial goal of $40,000.
“He had the same dreams like everyone else, to make it BIG in the land of opportunity. He had a great sense of humor and always made people laugh and was always eager to lend a helping hand. Little did anybody know that life is about to take a big unfortunate turn on a fateful day of July 6th 2018,” Chowdavaram wrote on the GoFundMe Page.
A worker at the restaurant told the Kansas City Star, what he had seen on extended surveillance footage:
“The suspect was wearing a brown shirt with white stripes and demanded money as he pulled out a gun. Koppu didn’t know how to work the register and thought he was going to die so he ran while others in the restaurant took coverage, that’s when the robber shot him in the back.”
Koppu was taken to the hospital where he died shortly after.
The restaurant remained closed during normal business hours on Saturday.
The worker also said that Koppu was related to the owner of the restaurant, which has three locations in Kansas City.
According to a Fox News report, the Indian Association of Kansas City is working with the Indian Consulate General in Chicago to bring Koppu’s body back to his family in Telengana, India.
Police say that the investigation is still underway as the suspect has not been identified or found.
Anyone with information is to call KCPD at 816-234-5043 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477 and may receive a $10,000 reward if the information provided leads to murder charges.