A 26-year-old Indian man named Vikram Jaryal was killed in a gas station shooting in the United States on Thursday, April 6, adding to the rising number of Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who have fallen prey to crimes in the US in recent times. Incidents of Indians being humiliated in public have also been reported over the past few months.
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The shooting took place at an AM-PM gas station on Yakima avenue in the town of Yakima, Washington state. Local reports say Jaryal was able to describe his shooters to the police before he breathed his last. Also, a good description of the shooters has been gleaned from the CCTV footage of the incident.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was informed about the crime by the victim's brother on Twitter in the early hours of Friday. She replied: "My heartfelt condolences on your brother's tragic death. I am asking the Indian Embassy in the US to provide all help and assistance."
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On Saturday morning, she took to Twitter to deliver a full report of the incident, saying: "I have received a report on the shootout incident resulting in the tragic death of Indian national Vikram Jaryal in Washington State USA. [sic]" She added: "The victim was only 26 years old and had reached US only 25 days back. He was working at the gas station of a family friend. [sic]"
She also said in a series of tweets: "On April 6 two miscreants entered the shop at 1:30 am. They snatched cash from victim and shot on his chest. This resulted in his death. We are coordinating with the investigative agencies. They have got the CCTV footage and are in the process of apprehending the culprits."
Several cases of attacks, including hate crimes, on Indians in the US have been reported in the last few months. Two Indians were shot at by a man who thought they were from the Middle-East in Kansas in February. The shooting resulted in the death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla on the spot while his colleague Alok Madasani survived, because another American named Ian Grillot had intervened in time.
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