KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of a murdered UMKC student are asking for help. They need to identify the man who police say killed 25-year-old Sharath Koppu on July 7.
Koppu was shot to death inside J’s Chicken & Fish Market near 54th and Prospect in Kansas City, Missouri.
It’s the American dream for so many. The international student from India came to Kansas City to get his graduate degree in computer science at UMKC back in January. When he traveled across the world to start the new chapter in his life, his family never imagined he wouldn’t make it to graduation.
“He was determined to do something very big,” said cousin Raghu Chowdavaram.
Chowdavaram said Koppu came to UMKC on a scholarship and was dedicated to his studies. He said Koppu was always there to help fellow students with their projects.
“If they are stuck somewhere in their studies, he is the first one they want to get in touch with. He`s always jovial. He has that smiling face. Never a moment you don`t see him without that smile,” Chowdavaram said.
It was shocking for Chowdavaram and their family when they heard the news Koppu was killed.
“I wish it was a bad dream. Completely devastated,” Chowdavaram said. “They are inconsolable. Completely devastated. I will not get into the details, but his father is trying to be stable, but his mother – she is not eating anything since the past three days.”
Chowdavaram hopes someone will come forward to give his whole family some closure.
“Whoever has the information please contact detectives, because Sharath is someone who does not get into any sort of arguments, or something that is not so kind with anyone, even with someone who he doesn’t not know, someone who is actually not so kind to him,” Chowdavaram said.
Chowdavaram can’t understand why someone would do this to his cousin. He can’t think of just one thing he will miss about Koppu because he says there was so much to love about him.
“Everything. Everything, because he’s so close to me, and then he’s my only first cousin from my mother’s side – a male first cousin. So he’s something – there’s no replacement. I`m still not in the right state of mind to say,” Chowdavaram said.
He wants to make sure the media in India doesn’t sensationalize Koppu’s death. He said what happened to his cousin is a tragedy, but reporting anything less than the facts is doing more harm than good.
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.
Police released the surveillance footage below of the suspect.