Crime

UMKC student was working last shift when killed. His father wants video released

Police seeking man suspected of shooting student inside Kansas City restaurant

Kansas City police are asking for help in identifying the man depicted in this surveillance video inside J's Fish and Chicken Market on July 6, 2018 in Kansas City, MO. The man is suspected of shooting 25-year-old Sharath Koppu, who worked there.
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Kansas City police are asking for help in identifying the man depicted in this surveillance video inside J's Fish and Chicken Market on July 6, 2018 in Kansas City, MO. The man is suspected of shooting 25-year-old Sharath Koppu, who worked there.

A UMKC student killed during a robbery attempt earlier this month at his workplace was on his last shift. He was quitting to focus on his pursuit of a master’s degree.

Sharath Koppu, 24, was shot in the back when he ran from a robber at J’s Fish and Chicken Market, according to a worker who saw surveillance footage of the incident.

“Sharath had a video chat with his mom on the day before the incident and mentioned that he wanted to devote more time to his studies,” said Raghu Chowdavaram, Koppu’s cousin. The day he was killed, July 6, was to be his last shift.


“But that last day turned out to be the last day of his life,” Koppu’s father, Koppu Ram Mohan of India, told The Times of India.

Mohan told The Star Tuesday that he wants the footage from the shooting released in the hope that it reveals the circumstances of his son’s death.

“Show the video, because nobody is saying what happened directly,” Mohan said.

A 25-year-old man, who on Sunday wounded three Kansas City police officers and was later killed in a firefight with officers during an onslaught of police activity that besieged an East Side neighborhood.

The video has not been released by Kansas City police, who on Sunday killed the lead suspect in Koppu’s slaying after the man shot at officers, injuring three of them.

Mohan wants to know why the man, identified by police as Marlin Mack Jr., killed his son. He wonders whether the two argued before the gunman fired. Or if his son was shot because he ran, perhaps because he didn’t know how to open the register when the robber demanded money.

“Even now, there’s no clarity about what happened,” he said.

He told reporters in India that he wished Koppu’s suspected killer had been taken into custody alive in the hope that he could have explained why he killed Koppu.

Chowdavaram said the family wants police to continue their investigation with the same intensity as before Mack was killed in the shootout.

“So no gaps are left and there won’t be any unanswered questions.”

A 25-year-old man who on Sunday allegedly wounded three Kansas City police officers and was later killed in a firefight with officers was identified Monday as Marlin Mack.

Koppu’s parents and relatives laid Koppu to rest last week in Hyderabad, the same city in India where another victim of gun violence in the Kansas City area was laid to rest.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed at a bar in Olathe in what was later ruled a hate crime. The shooter had poked Kuchibhotla in the chest and called him a terrorist, according to the Department of Justice.

Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, gave a statement about this most recent slaying of a native of India. She thanked local law enforcement for their commitment to “bringing justice following the killing of Sharath.”

“The loss of Sharath is a reminder that we must continue to be there for each other. We must be steadfast in our conviction to build a loving and understanding community for current and future generations,” she said.

While asking that police continue the investigation of his son’s killing and releasing surveillance footage, Mohan expressed gratitude for law enforcement’s work on the case.

But questions remain, he said.

“Sharath’s father is trying to stay stable,” Chowdavaram said, adding that Mohan knows he must console his family.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Sharath Koppu, a UMKC graduate student from India, was shot in the back fleeing a restaurant robbery Friday. Koppu’s cousin and his roommate describe what he meant to those who knew him.

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