Another Indian killed in the US; Harnish Patel shot dead

harnish patelA 43-year-old Indian-origin store owner in the US has been shot dead outside his home, just days after an Indian engineer was killed in Kansas+ in a hate crime shooting that had sent shockwaves across the country.

Harnish Patel, 43, the owner of a convenience store in Lancaster County, South Carolina, was found dead of gunshot wounds in the front yard of his home on Thursday, coroner and police officials said.

Patel closed his store and drove in his silver minivan to his nearby home where authorities believe he was confronted by his killer. The store is about 6 km from his house, The Herald reported.

http://www.wbtv.com/clip/13148899/man-shot-and-killed-outside-his-home

He had locked up his nearby store less than 10 minutes before he was found dead, police said.

Patel was found in the yard a few minutes before midnight, according to a statement from the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office.

Lancaster County police received calls at 11:33 pm after people called 911 to say that they heard screaming and gunshots.

Sheriff Barry Faile said the Indian ethnicity of Patel does not appear to be a factor in the crime.

“I don’t have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated,” Faile said

Friends and customers were in shock and were visiting Patel’s home to offer condolences to his family.

“Who would do anything like this to him, as good as he is to everybody,” Nicole Jones, a frequent customer at Patel’s store, told WBTV.

Jones and other friends said Patel was not always worried about the bottom line of his business.

“If you didn’t have the money, he’d let people have food,” Jones said.

Mario Sadler, another customer and friend, said Patel had offered him jobs before, and did anything he could to help out in tough times.

“He’s watched my kids grow up, which is why it’s painful. From day one he’s been amazing, just awesome, and I just don’t understand the sense behind it,” Sadler said.

Dilipkumar Gajjar, a close friend of Patel and the owner the ABC store next to the Speedee Mart, said Patel came over to this country to better his family’s life, and did that.

Local WSOCTV said that in Lancaster there was a lot of anger over the killing of Patel, who was considered an important member of the community and a kind person who treated his customers as friends and helped law enforcement.

His store was close to the Sheriff’s office and deputies often frequented the store.

Faile said on TV that Patel was a “great family man” and a friend.

The station said that Patel was survived by his wife and child in elementary school, who were at home when he was killed.
Patel’s death comes close on the heels of the shooting in Kansas of a 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinvias Kuchibhotla, who was killed when 51-year-old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani at a bar before yelling “get out of my country.”