Three students from India killed on Thanksgiving Day

Three students from India were killed in two separate incidents on Thanksgiving Day.

In California, Abhishek Sudhesh Bhat, who was pursuing his Masters degree in Computer Science from California State University (CSU) in San Bernardino, was shot dead by an unknown assailant.

In Tennessee, Vybhav Gopisetty and Judy Stanley died after a driver hit their vehicle and drove away. Both Gopisetty, 26, and Stanley, 23, were graduate students from India pursuing food science degrees in the College of Agriculture. Stanley was seeking a master’s, and Gopisetty a doctorate.

News reports in local media say that the fatalities were the result of an apparent hit-and-run accident in south Nashville. Metro Nashville Police are looking for the driver of the GMC pickup truck that hit the students' Nissan Sentra, local news reports said. 

Bhat, 25, originally from Mysore, had been working part time at a hotel nearby and was wrapping up his work on Nov. 28 evening when he was killed.

Three students from India killed on Thanksgiving Day

Abhishek Sudhesh Bhat Facebook photo

Meanwhile, a report in The Sun says that a 42-year-old San Bernandino man, identified as Eric Devon Turner was arrested on Nov. 30 on suspicion of shooting Bhat. Sgt. Albert Tello of the San Bernardino police told The Sun that suspect had fled on foot, but was identified by police and later turned himself in on Nov. 30 morning. Why he shot Bhat was not immediately known.

Bhat had completed a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from Vidya Vikas Institute of Engineering and Technology in Mysore, and had moved to the U.S. around 18 months ago to pursue his masters.

According to his Facebook profile, Bhat was also working as a teaching assistant of Dr. Ernesto Gomez for the Computer Science Class - CSE320.

He is survived by his parents; father Sudesh Chand is a yoga instructor at the Upanishat Yoga Centre in Kuvempunagar in Mysore, and his mother, Nandini Aithal, is a housewife.

According to the Indian Express, the family had received a call at around 11.30 pm on Nov. 28 night telling them that there had been a shooting, however no further details were disclosed. A few minutes prior to that, Chand had spoke with his son and also received a WhatsApp message from him. The family subsequently received a call at 5.30 am informing them of their son’s demise.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee State University community has created a fundraising page for the funeral costs Gopisetty and Stanley.

Sharath Julakanti wrote on the GoFundMe page that  the two came to the U.S. “with motivation and dreams of working in science.” Julakanti went on to note that Gopisetty's work was featured in international journals while Stanley was working to help those in poverty.

"They both come from small and simple families from India and left their last breathe in United States," Julakanti wrote. "We kindly request everyone to support them for their funeral which is to be held at India." Since then, friends and TSU groups have donated nearly $17,000 in 15 hours. The goal is $25,000.

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