An Indian graduate student was struck and killed by a Seattle police car while on a crosswalk in Washington.
The speeding Seattle police car was reportedly responding to a “high-priority” call when it hit Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, near Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street at around 8 p.m. on Jan. 23.
The officers provided CPR to the victim until Seattle Fire Department medics arrived. Kandula was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead.
Kandula is the daughter of a single mother and school teacher in India. She was pursuing a master’s degree at Northeastern University Seattle and was expected to graduate in December.
The officer responsible for Kandula’s death has not been identified and reportedly remains on the job.
The incident is currently under investigation. Police have yet to release details of the fatal collision.
On Jan. 26, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) released a statement to offer condolences to Kandula’s family.
We acknowledge that there is understandably tremendous interest in the surrounding facts, but for purposes of both preserving the integrity of the investigation and respecting the family’s right to privacy, will not be putting out information over and beyond what has already been provided. We will provide all publicly releasable information, including the report, once we are able to do so, and in consultation with the family. We extend our deepest condolences to Ms. Kandula’s family and friends. This incident is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved.
In a statement to KJR-FM radio, the victim’s family remembered Kandula as a “brilliant student” with a “bubbly personality.”
We are truly heartbroken. Jaahnavi was a brilliant student with a bright future. Jaahnavi’s smile was radiant, and her bubbly personality warmed the hearts of every person she came in contact with. She had an innate ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Jaahnavi’s tragic and untimely death has left her family and community with a huge hole in their hearts that will never be repaired. She was a daughter to a single mother who teaches elementary school in India. In spite of earning less than [$200] per month, her mother educated Jaahnavi and encouraged her to the United States hoping Jaahnavi would have a better future and a better life abroad. Her mother’s hopes and dreams are cut short now.
David Thurman, the CEO of Northeastern University’s Seattle campus, also released a statement to honor the victim.
Jaahnavi demonstrated strong analytical abilities in large-scale data management and a passion for resolving technical issues. She worked as a Junior Executive at CAMTek Solutions for two years examining technical and artistic outputs. Additionally, she worked as an Administrative & Events Assistant on the Seattle campus, supporting event management and providing administrative help. Jaahnavi is remembered as a stellar student and a delightful and effervescent human being. She was a close friend to many and friends shared that they loved her bubbly laugh, sense of humor and infectious personality. Her loss will be felt deeply by students, staff, and faculty across campus.
On Friday, a vigil organized by Critical Mass was held to honor Kandula.
The group reportedly set up a memorial and held a moment of silence at the crosswalk where the 23-year-old was hit and killed.
A GoFundMe page was put up for Kandula’s grieving family on Jan. 25.
According to the fundraiser, which has so far raised over $150,000, the victim’s body is being sent back home to Andhra Pradesh, India.
The family would like to get some closure and would like to know the circumstances behind the death. We demand that the Seattle Police and City officials release more information on the circumstances that have led to this untimely death. and what could have been done to avoid such a tragic accident? The family deserves answers to their questions, and her grieving mother deserves closure. We will continue to push police and city officials for answers.
The SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is leading the investigation regarding the collision. Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact 206-684-8923.