External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that the government is following up on an “unfortunate” incident, in which an Indian student was shot dead allegedly by two armed robbers at a grocery store in the U.S. state of California, and will extend all help to the family of the deceased. “I have received a detailed report on the unfortunate death of an Indian student Dharampreet Jasper in California. It was a case of armed robbery of a gas station in which the robbers shot at Dharampreet who was working there,” Swaraj said in a series of tweets. “The police have arrested a suspect of Indian origin. We are following up further investigation by the police and will extend all help to the family of the deceased,” she tweeted.
On Monday night, 20-year-old Dharampreet Singh Jassar, known to friends as Veer, was robbed by two men before being shot dead as the suspects left the Tackle Box store just outside Madera city limits, local daily Fresnobee reported. The robbers took a few big boxes of cigarettes and some cash from the store. The police has arrested 22-year-old Indian-origin Armitraj Singh Athwal for the slaying after he was stopped by a Fresno County sheriff’s deputy a short time after the shooting. However, a second suspect remains at large.
According to Pete Nijjar, owner of the store, Jasser had been in the United States for about a year and a half, and was studying accounting at Fresno State and had worked at the store for about two months and was a good employee who was popular with customers. Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney said that Athwal faces robbery and murder charges, but does not appear to have a lengthy criminal history.