Indian-Origin Businessman Shot Dead In US

New York, March 04: India still in shock on the killing of an engineer in the US last week, another Indian-origin businessman has been shot dead outside his home in South Carolina.

Harnish Patel, A 43-year-old Indian-origin store owner in the United States was found dead of gunshot wounds in the front yard of his home on Thursday, coroner and police officials said.

Harnish Patel was the owner of a convenience store in Lancaster County, South Carolina,

On Thursday night, Harnish Patel had closed his shop at 11.24 p.m. 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 local media reported.

Patel was found in the yard a few minutes before midnight, according to a statement from the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office.The police received calls at 11:33 PM after people called 911 to say that they heard screaming and gunshots.

Harnish Patel’s killing comes 2 days after US President Donald Trump had condemned as “hate and evil” the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, in a Kansas bar.

Local officials in Lancaster, however, did not think that Harnish Patel’s killing was a hate crime as investigations are on, The local media reported.

“I don’t have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated,” County Sheriff Barry Faile said on Friday.

He said that the Indian ethnicity of Harnish Patel does not appear to be a factor in the crime.

Friends and customers were in shock and were visiting Harnish 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 Harnish Patel’s store, told a TV Chanel.

Some other friends of Harnish Patel said that he was not always worried about the bottom line of his business.

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

Mario Sadler, another customer and friend of Harnish, 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,” Mario Sadler said.

Dilipkumar Gajjar, a close friend of Harnish 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.

Harnish Patel’s death comes close on the heels of the shooting in Kansas of a 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed when 51-year-old American  Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani at a bar before yelling “get out of my country.”

The shooting in Kansas last month had sent shockwaves across the Indian-American community with many people expressing concerns over their safety in an environment of xenophobic and racist rhetoric in the United States.

Police found two shell casings at the crime scene of Harnish Patel. A police dog could not pick up any scent to follow from there, WSOCTV reported.