Assailants still at large.
By Dileep Thekkethil
Shani Patel, a 21-year-old Indian-origin student studying at Rutgers University was shot dead and his roommate seriously injured after unknown assailants opened fire at their apartment outside the university campus in New Jersey on Sunday.
According to Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Indian origin Shani Patel, who was pursuing third-year economics major at the Rutgers university was shot by two unidentified people who entered her off-campus apartment in Newark.
The Emergency medical personnel who reached the spot declared Patel dead and moved his roommate to University Hospital where he underwent a surgery.
The authorities confirmed that Patel’s roommate was present during the shooting and is seriously wounded. He is currently receiving medical treatment. The officials have not released the details of the roommate.
According to various other reports, the roommate of Patel is believed to be a 23-year old alumnus of the university who graduated last year.
The New York Times reported that the shooting was a targeted attempted to kill Patel. About 12,000 students live in the downtown campus of the university and the Rutgers Police department said that they need not be alarmed.
Authorities are investigating the incident but as of now no suspects have been identified or taken into custody.
In a letter addressing the student community of the university, the Chancellor Nancy Cantor expressed her grief and shock at Patel’s death.
“I write with the sad news that last night we lost one of our students,” Cantor said in the note. “(T)here is an active, ongoing investigation…of a crime that took place at a private residence located off campus,” she wrote.
“While law enforcement is still investigating and we understand that it was not a random act that led to Shani’s death, it is a shock to lose a member of our community under any circumstances,” Cantor said
“Our deepest condolences go out to Shani’s family and to all who knew him as a student, colleague, or friend,” she added.
According to the Rutgers police, the attackers are believed to be in their early 20’s and soon fled the scene after the shooting.
The Essex County Sheriff Crimestoppers Program has offered up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest of the shooters. They have also requested to pass on the information regarding the same to 1-877-847-7432.