Harnish Patel fourth Indian American killed in South Carolina in 23 months

He also becomes the fifth Indian American convenient store owner, or attendant killed in the country since April 2015.

Credit: maps.Google.com

Harnish Jayantilal Patel, 43, who was gunned down outside his home in Lancaster, South Carolina, on Thursday night, was the fourth Indian American killed in the Palmetto State since April 2015.

Patel, who owned a convenience store, Speedee Mart, had closed the store for the day around 11:24 p.m., and left for home. He was found dead outside his home, a few miles away from the store.

Police have ruled out hate crime as a motive.

In August 2015, an elderly Indian American couple was fatally shot at a Best Western Point South in Ridgeland, S.C., by a 20-year-old gunman.

The bodies of Kantibhai Patel, 72, and his wife Hansaben Patel, 67,  were found in their room on August 16, 2015. The Patels had been working and living at the Best Western from 2007.

Ridgeland is roughly 190 miles to the south of Lancaster.

RELATED: Elderly Indian American couple shot dead in Ridgeland (August 19, 2015)

Roughly a hundred days prior to the double murder, Mradulaben Patel, 59, was shot during an attempted robbery at a South Carolina BP in Anderson County on April 30, 2015. She died two days later.

Patel was shot when she refused to give money to her assailant, who had pulled a handgun and pointed it at her.

RELATED: Georgia man arrested for the murder of Indian American gas station clerk Mradulaben Patel  (May 22, 2015)

Convenience stores and gas stations have become especially deadly for Indian American owners and attendants in recent years, not just in South Carolina, but in other parts of the country as well.

April 2015 was a cruel month for Indian American gas station attendants, with two getting killed in separate robbery attempts within the span of 24 hours.

RELATED: Two Indian Americans killed in Connecticut, Illinois, during robberies at gas stations (April 8, 2015)

Sanjay Patel, who worked as a clerk at a gas station in New Haven, Connecticut, was killed on April 6.

Within hours, in Peoria, Illinois, Rajesh Madala, 35, was murdered by an unidentified assailant during a gas station robbery.

Two months later, on June 22, Hardip Singh, a 46-year-old clerk at a Big Red gas station in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was killed by gunmen.

Two men — Lorenzo Kellon and Sha’Quile Ali Carter — were arrested in connection with the murder.

RELATED: Two arrested in murder of Indian American store clerk in Arkansas Hardip Singh (July 1, 2015)

Gas stations and convenient stores are among the most dangerous work places, as attendants have to do business with a number of unsavory groups ranging from cigarette thieves to armed robbers.

Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statics, and analyzed by The American Bazaar, revealed that there were 46 shooting deaths in convenient stores and gas stations across the country in 2015, the last year for which complete data is available.

Last month also saw two people of Indian origin losing their lives to gun violence.

RELATED: Indian student shot dead in US (February 13, 2017)

On February 11, Vamshi Reddy, a 27-year-old who had graduated from a Silicon Valley school, was shot dead by an unidentified assailant in Milpitas, California.

Reddy was found dead with bullet injuries near the garage of his apartment in Milpitas and the police suspect that the killer might have shot him to rob him of money and car.

RELATED: Indian American engineer shot dead in Olathe, Kansas, in apparent hate crime (February 23, 2017)

And on February 22, in an incident that galvanized the community, Indian American engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was shot dead in Olathe, Kansas, by a US Navy veteran in what was described as a hate crime. Kuchibhotla’s colleague Alok Madasani, 32, was also shot at, but he escaped with minor injuries.

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