Community officials and organizations help family of slain UMKC student

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A University of Missouri Kansas City graduate student is dead after an attempted robbery on July 6, and police need your help to catch his killer. Days after the incident at J’s Fish and Chicken Market near 54th Street and Prospect police said they had only three tips, despite releasing surveillance video of the man they say is responsible.

When officers arrived, they found Sharath Koppu shot inside the restaurant. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died. Koppu was a UMKC student who was working at the restaurant.

However, for Koppu's family back in India, they are left mourning the life of a young man they believe had a big future ahead of him. It's something many around the world dream about. A scholarship to an American university to study computer science.

"It was a career waiting to happen," said Jagdeesh Subramanian with the Indian Association of Kansas City. 25-year-old Koppu came to The United States in January and started his master's degree in computer science at UMKC. On July 6, he died along with his dream.

"Who knows, maybe he would have gotten into Google, or Microsoft, or something with his computer science background," Subramanian said. "The fact that he had scholarship does mean that he was probably really good in academics back in India where he was studying."

Subramanian said it's hard to believe this would be the end of Koppu's life, and can't understand why someone would do this.

"It's scary. That person should not be out on the streets," Subramanian said. It's our responsibility as a community that we come up and recognize who the person is. If they see them on the streets or at another store, wherever they are, please let the police know."

The Indian Association of Kansas City is working with Koppu's family to bring his remains overseas and back to his parents.

"Little did they realize there's so much that needs to be done internally through logistics, and through paperwork, and through clearances, and until that happens you can`t leave the country," Subramanian said.

With the help of the Indian Consulate in Chicago, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver's office, Mayor Sly James, and Senator Claire McCaskill, the family could focus on their grief for a young man who they say held so much promise.

People from across the world reached out to help Koppu's family. They donated more than $50,000 dollars in one day through a Gofundme page. Subramanian said he never knew Koppu, but is just happy he could help.

"Absolutely. Why not? I mean, I would do that in a heartbeat," Subramanian said. "Regardless if I was in a position of power or not, I would do that in a heartbeat."

Subramanian said, Koppu's death is national news in India. Many people in the country are wondering if America is a safe place to live, and if a U.S. education is worth the risk.

Investigators are asking anyone with information to call KCPD at 816-234-5043 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. Police are offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to charges in this murder. Tips can remain anonymous.