While the family and friends of Kanagala Seshadri Rao, a 24-year-old graduate student at Boston University who was found dead on April 19, struggle to come to terms with the tragedy, the Consulate General of India in New York and the Telugu Association of North America have helped the family handle matters in the United States. Rao's body arrived back in India late Tuesday night.
"Rao didn't have any emergency contact detail on his file in the university, so the authorities contacted the Indian Embassy," said Mohan Nannapaneni, executive vice president of the Telugu Association of North America. According to Nannapaneni, his group has been in constant touch with the university, police, Indian Consulate officials and the Rao's parents since the BU graduate student was found shot in the head and the leg in the street about one mile from campus, and only minutes from his apartment in the early morning hours on April 19.
Nannapaneni also said that Pramod Bajaj, deputy counsel with Consulate General of India in New York, has been also in touch with all parties involved on an ongoing basis.
During such a difficult time, Nannapaneni's group only hopes any service it can be will help in any way. "The Rao family and the university is flabbergasted by the incident," Nannapaneni said.
All the official parties involved have also expressed remorse at the tragic death, which has shocked so many and sparked an outpouring of support from Rao's fellow BU students and family and friends back in India.
Keeneth W. Freeman, dean of BU's School of Management of which Rao was a student, told the Boston Globe that Rao was an "exceptional student" and well respect by other students and faculty. He said the school's community is "deeply saddened by this very tragic loss."
Rao came to BU last fall and was in the School of Management's mathematical-finance program.
"It's a tragic and sad incident. The shootout took place about a mile away from BU campus, and there had be no such incidents occurred in the past at BU, as the campus is secured and safe," Colin Riley spokesperson for Boston University Police said.
While some media reports about the incident hinted Rao's murder may have been a hate crime, police and school officials have ruled this possibility out.
Nannapaneni strongly disavowed that the incident was a hate crime also.
"The statement of K.S. Rao's father alleging his son was dragged out of his apartment and shot is not true, fact being I had a word with the K.S. Rao's roommates, who were present in the apartment at the night of the incident, they were not aware about the incident until police arrived and informed them, if the victim was dragged from his apartment his roommates would had definitely know about it," Nannapaneni said. "It is surprising that this kind of incident occurred with a BU student, as my daughter had enrolled in BU in 2010 and it is one of the most reputed universities, with enormous amount of students enrolling every year. We work closely with non-immigrant students to help and guide them and had never come across any such incidents.
"Though there have been no arrests made yet, the police have some evidential leads in the case investigation," Nannapaneni added. "But it would be not feasible to comment as that may hamper the investigation that is at crucial stage."
The Boston Police Department and the Boston University Police Department continue to investigate the incident. No arrests have been made in the case and the police have not announced any suspects.