Dubai: Relatives of a UAE student shot dead in the US last week spoke of their satisfaction after a man was charged with murder on Monday, but said nothing could be regained from the tragedy.
Neil Kumar, 30, originally from India, but whose family are long-time Sharjah residents, was opening the gas station store where he worked in Alabama last Wednesday morning when he was shot dead in an apparent robbery.
Kumar was in the US studying computer science at Troy University and was working in the gas station on a part-time basis at the time of his death.
Leon Flowers, 23, was arrested and charged with murder and robbery on Monday, and had been on probation at the time of the killing after pleading guilty to manslaughter in an earlier 2015 shooting, according to western media reports.
“Mentally there is satisfaction, at least we know now who it was and why they did it – for some money – but what’s lost is lost and nothing can be regained,” Ramanan Vengali, a relative of the victim, told Gulf News.
“We are hopeful that justice will be served, but the question is why was the suspect out on probation after committing an earlier crime? This could have been preventable if he had been still in jail or at least tightly monitored while out of prison.”
The victim’s parents — Purush and Seema Kumar — who are long-time residents of Sharjah flew to America on Saturday where they met up with their US-based daughters Neema and Natasha ahead of Neil’s funeral in Alabama on Monday.
The family released the following statement: “You are loved and missed by so many because of your kind, witty, charming and selfless nature.
“Your loss is unbearable and you have left a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. We will miss you forever beloved son and dearest little brother.”
Meanwhile, condolences kept pouring in for Neil from the UAE and the US.
While Neil’s school and college friends shared their pain when they read about his tragic death, several others condemned the frequent attacks reported at gas stations in different parts of the US.
Alabamians also expressed their shock and sympathy.
Vengali confirmed that Kumar’s mother and father would now travel to San Francisco to stay with their eldest daughter before flying to India with the ashes to complete final funeral rites.
They are scheduled to return to the UAE tentatively on August 11.