It’s a big loss for any family for losing a young son but it’s more painful when the family loses the only son suddenly thousands of miles away from home. This happens with an Indian family when its only son was shot and killed in a supermarket robbery in the US on Wednesday morning.
Neil Kumar, 30, who grew up in the UAE, was pursuing his master’s degree in computer science at Troy University in Alabama.
He was working as a part-time clerk at a gas station in Pike County, Alabama, where the attack happened. Kumar is survived by his father Kumar Purushu, mother Seema and two sisters who are married and settled in the US.
His family – long-time residents of Sharjah – broke down upon hearing the tragedy, and has flown to the US for the funeral.
Describing the crime, the relative said Neil was shot within minutes after opening the supermarket for business on Wednesday morning.
“Neil opened the gas station at 6am and at around 6.15am, a masked gunman barged into the shop and asked him to handover the cash. The video footage released by US authorities show that Neil did not put up any resistance and obliged. But the criminal went behind the counter and shot him point blank,” said Vengali, a sales director in a Dutch company in Dubai.
Police Chief Moses Davenport told the local media that they are searching for the suspect and is looking through surveillance camera evidence. Pike County law enforcement has also released the footage of the crime and gave out the description of the suspect as a “male dressed in all black with white gloves and armed with a gun.”
Vengali said he was present when the police chief called Purushu and informed about the homicide on Thursday morning UAE time. The officer said “Please pray for your son. We are trying our best.” He told the father that Neil was in serious condition and admitted in a hospital. Obviously, they did not want to break the news abruptly.”
The tragic news was conveyed to the family by their son-in-law based in San Francisco later in the evening. “Both Purushu and Seema were praying all day and doing breathing exercises to keep calm. But when the news was broken to them, they were inconsolable,” said Vengali.
Neil’s father, Kumar Purushu and his wife Seema have been living in Sharjah for the last 52 years and all their three children, including Neil went to school in Dubai.
“Purushu is running a printing company and he is all set to release a new book on Dubai’s development over the last 50 years. His plan was to go back to Kerala to look for a bride for Neil. But fate had other plans.”