An Indian-origin businessman in South Carolina, US, was reportedly shot dead by an unidentified gunman. The incident took place on Thursday (2 March) night, just days after an Indian engineer was killed in Kansas in a hate crime attack.
Harnish Patel, 43, was the owner of a convenience store in Lancaster County. Media reports suggest that he had closed the store - which is hardly three to four miles away from his home - at 11.24pm local time on 2 March. Within 10 minutes, he was found dead of gunshot wounds.
Lancaster County police said they received calls at 11:33pm after people called 911 to report the incident.
"Investigators believe he drove from the store directly home, where he was confronted by his killer when he got out of the vehicle," a police statement said, according to The Herald.
Local police have launched an investigation into the attack. No arrests have been made yet but officials believe the incident does not appear to be a hate crime.
"I don't have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated," County Sheriff Barry Faile said on Friday (3 March).
Patel is survived by his wife and a young child, who is studying in elementary school.
According to local WSOCTV, there was a lot of anger over Patel's death in Lancaster. One of his customers, Nicole Jones, expressed shock over the incident as she recollected how Patel would offer free food to people who did not have money.
"I would have no idea who would do anything like this to him as good as he is to everybody," Jones said.
A sign Patel's convenience store now reads, "Store closed for few days because of family emergency. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Police reportedly found two shell casings at the crime scene, but a police dog could not pick up any scent, WSOCTV reported.
Patel's death comes days after Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a 32-year-old Indian engineer was killed at a bar in Olathe, Kansas in a racially-motivated incident. US President Donald Trump said the country "stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms".
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