UMKC student’s family awaits final confirmation that loved one’s killer is off the streets

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sharath Koppu's family is waiting to hear from police to know if they can rest easy knowing they found his killer.

Over a week went by with no answers - his family back in India was devastated. Now, it's possible they may find some closure. The family is not making any statements until the news is confirmed - but FOX4 spoke with his cousin on Monday.

Koppu came to Kansas City to chase his dream, to get his graduate degree in computer engineering at UMKC.

"He was determined to do something very big," cousin Raghu Chowdavaram said.

"It was a career waiting to happen, and who knows, maybe he would have gotten into Google, or Microsoft, or something with his computer science background. The fact that he had scholarship does mean that he was probably really good in academics back in India where he was studying," Jagdeesh Subramanian of the Indian Association of Kansas City said.

That all ended for the 25-year-old international student on July 6th. That's when police say a man walked into J's Chicken and Fish Market at 54th and Prospect, and shot Koppu dead in an attempted robbery.

"It`s scary. That person should not be out on the streets. 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," Subramanian said.

Police worked to identify the man through surveillance video, and on July 15th they thought they may have found him.

"Today, we were conducting surveillance on a person of interest in a homicide from the 5400 block of Prospect. We were trying to get up on this individual - we`d been looking for him all week. This was the first time we laid eyes on him," Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith said.

Three officers were shot in pursuit of the man they think could be responsible for Koppu's murder.

"People have not been identified, people and connections have not been made yet," Smith said.

Those close to Koppu are thankful for police's efforts in searching for his killer. The Indian Association of Kansas City says they are thankful to the Kansas City police for their efforts. UMKC said in a statement: "These public servants risked their lives to pursue justice for our murdered student, Sharath Koppu."

"He`s always jovial. He has that smiling face. Never a moment you don`t see him without that smile," Chowdavaram  said.

The family tells FOX4 they are waiting to hear from police, they want to make sure this is the person police were looking for, and they will release a statement at that time.

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