The Kansas City Police Department announced Sunday it has received few tips related to the fatal shooting of a student from India who was studying at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“Only 3 TIPS have been received so far,” police spokesman Capt. Lionel Colón said in an email Sunday. “We ask the community for continued help identifying the suspect.”
Sharath Koppu was shot in the back about 7 p.m. Friday when a man attempted to rob J’s Fish and Chicken Market at 54th and Prospect where Koppu worked.
The 24-year-old died of his injuries at a local hospital.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
A worker at the restaurant who didn’t wish to be named told The Star that Koppu had bolted directly away from a man who entered the store and demanded money. Koppu, who was related to the restaurant’s owner, didn’t know how to operate the cash register, the man said.
Police, who have not yet confirmed that man’s account, released surveillance footage of a suspect inside the restaurant moments before the shooting. They have yet to make an arrest in the homicide and urged the public to report any information related to the incident to law enforcement.
According to family, Koppu came to the United States this past January to get his master’s degree in computer science.
His death was acknowledged on social media by India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.
“Kansas incident — I have spoken to Sharath’s father Shri Ram Mohan Reddy in Hyderabad to convey our heartfelt condolences,” Swaraj tweeted. “We have offered that in case a family member wishes to go to Kansas, we will facilitate the US Visa. Else we will bring the mortal remains at the earliest.”
An Indian newspaper reported that Koppu’s family learned of the killing from Koppu’s friends and U.S. media reports. His family then reached out to Indian authorities to learn whether the Kansas City victim was their son.
According to an English news channel in India, Telangana minister for Non-Resident Indians Affairs K.T. Rama Rao and Deputy Chief Minister Kadiyam Srihari have visited Koppu’s family. Officials vowed to bring his body home within two days.
The Consolate General of India in Chicago tweeted that it has sent officials to Kansas City to coordinate the delivery of Koppu’s remains to India.
“We are in constant touch with the local authorities & family members and are trying that this is done at the earliest,” part of the tweet read.
A cousin, Raghu Chowdavaram, created a Go Fund Me with the goal of raising $40,000 for Koppu’s family on Saturday. As of Sunday, the fundraising effort had generated $50,892.
“Sharath is known to his family and friends as full of dreams, cheerful, energetic and athletic,” Chowdavaram wrote.
She later added: “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.”