Following the recent shooting of two Indian engineers that killed one at a Kansas bar, a businessman of Indian origin was shot dead outside his house in Lancaster, South Carolina.
The victim, Harnish Patel, just closed his store at 11:24 p.m. on Thursday night when the attacker shot him about 10 minutes later. He was found dead in his yard.
Patel, 43, originally came from Gujarat and has been living with his family in the U.S. for 14 years. Contrary to the shooting two weeks ago, local authorities believe his killing was far from a bias crime. County Sheriff Barry Faile said, “I don’t have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated.”
The owner of the store, called Speedee Mart, was apparently missed by the community, WBTV said. Nicole Jones, a friend and frequent customer, spoke of Patel’s kindness:
“Who would do anything like this to him, as good as he is to everybody.”
“If you didn’t have the money, he’d let people have food,” Jones added.
Mario Sadler, another customer, said Patel offered him jobs and always helped in difficult 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 senseless behind it.”
Patel is survived by wife Sonal and son Siddhansh, who is currently in elementary school.
For now, authorities are urging people to help in the investigation. Sheriff Barry Faile said (via WSOC-TV):
“We ask anyone with information he or she thinks might be related to this incident in any way to please contact us [(803) 283-3388]. If you saw anything at the store, in the area of Craig Manor Road, or anywhere in between, let us know. Even if you think it is not important, it could be the lead that solves this case.”
Cover Image via Indian Express