The wife of an Indian-origin store owner, who was shot dead outside his home in the US, has asked the people to continue demonstrating “selflessness” and “love” to honour her husband’s memory. Harnish Patel’s wife issued a statement to The Lancaster News on Thursday and thanked the Lancaster community and the sheriff’s office for their support and for celebrating her husband’s life. “To honour the memory of Harnish, please continue to demonstrate selflessness and love to one another each and every day,” Sonal Patel wrote.
“We appreciate all of the love you have shown us. It is with your support along with time that will help us to move forward,” she wrote.
Sonal also sent “a special thank you” to Lancaster County sheriff’s deputies and detectives for “their relentless professional efforts and their equal human spirits.”
Patel’s brother, Nirav Patel, said the family had been encouraged by news accounts showing how much people in the community respected and loved him and grieved the family’s loss.
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He said Sonal was “strong” and was staying focused, with the help of family, on getting her and her son’s lives back to as normal as possible.
Nirav said the family was aware of the allegations being made by some about the motive for Harnish’s murder, but he declined to discuss the family’s thoughts on the matter.
“We just don’t know. Nobody knows yet,” he said.
“They were very good friends with the law enforcement community, and they trust them completely. Right now, we’re just letting them do their job,” Nirav said.
Patel, 43, the owner of a convenience store in Lancaster County, South Carolina, was found dead of gunshot wounds in the front yard of his home on March 2.
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said on Wednesday it has no evidence that Patel’s murder was ethnically motivated, but it is not taking that possibility off the table.
The sheriff’s office issued its statement after “much speculation about the motive for this homicide,” sheriff’s spokesman Doug Barfield said in the release.
“At this time, investigators have not developed facts indicating the shooting was ethnically motivated,” Barfield said.
He said sheriff’s investigators are processing evidence and pursuing leads from many different sources, though they have so far produced “nothing definitive.”
Many people were interviewed but no arrests have been made so far, Barfield said.