Neil Kumar
Neil Kumar, Former Sharjah Indian School student shot dead in gas station robbery in the US. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: A former Sharjah Indian School student was shot dead in a gas station robbery in Alabama in the US last Wednesday. His funeral takes place on Monday, a UAE-based relative has told Gulf News.

Neil Kumar, 30, was working part-time in a gas station while pursuing his master’s degree in computer science at Troy University when he was shot in an apparent robbery shortly after opening the store last Wednesday morning.

Kumar was the youngest child and only son of father Purush Kumar and mother Seema, who are both based in Sharjah. He is also survived by two older sisters Neema and Nastasha, who both live in the US.

Relative Ramanan Vengali told Gulf News: “I put the parents on a flight from Dubai to Boston on Saturday morning where they met both daughters and flew on to Alabama. They arrived on Sunday morning and the funeral will take place in Alabama on Monday at 1pm local time.

“This is a great loss to the family,” added Vengali. “He was the only son and you can never replace an only son. He was such a nice person, and always ready to help, anyone who ever met and made contact with him has been left weeping.

“His father has lived in the UAE for the past 52 years and his plan was to go back to India once marrying off his son next year.”

Vengali confirmed the family were originally from Thrissur in Kerala, and that Kumar had been in the US exactly one year since graduating from university in Chennai.

Some of Kumar’s previous colleagues at a Dubai studio where he worked for about five years remembered him as a “gem of a person”.

“He was a very mature and loving guy. Though he studied IT, he was passionate about photography. He went to the US last year to pursue his higher studies. He didn’t have to go for this part time job for his livelihood. But he still did it for some experience,” said a former colleague who didn’t wish to be named.

Another former colleague said Neil’s classmate in the US, a Malaysian, said that Neil was not supposed to go to duty on that ill-fated day. “He filled in for someone else. It was his pure bad luck. He didn’t deserve such a tragic end. We are all heartbroken,” said the friend.