The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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US hunt for getaway driver

Washington, Dec. 16: The four-agency task force, together with the FBI, investigating the murder of two Indian students at the Louisiana State University has widened its search for the killers to include a fourth man.

They are also looking for a small to mid-size, four-door getaway car, according to Baton Rouge police officer Don Kelly.

But the task force still has no motive for the killings, and Kelly, who is acting as the spokesperson for the task force, admitted to reporters that there is “not enough information available right now to rule anything in or out.”

Three men, said to be African Americans, were seen leaving the crime scene, but a fourth man came into police focus after it was concluded that he was waiting in the getaway car with its headlights turned off.

He drove the three men away from the Edward Gay Apartments where Kiran Kumar Allam, 33, and Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma, 31, were shot dead, with the vehicle’s headlights still turned off, making it impossible for anyone to notice the car’s number plates or registration details.

“Everything that can be done right now is being done,” Kelly said. “There is no shortage of resources being donated to the case.”

Right now, the police are concentrating on interviewing every resident of Edward Gay Apartments: there are 288 of them, 94 per cent of whom are foreign students like Komma and Allam.

Indian students at the university said the police were able to talk to the distraught widows of the murdered students, search their homes and cars.

The victims’ families have not yet been allowed into Allam’s residence because it is being treated as a “crime scene”, implying that evidence was still being collected.

Kelly said the police were taking an inventory of the apartment, adding without elaboration that some items were unaccounted for.

Alok Pandey, the deputy head of the consular section of the Indian embassy here, and K.P. Pillai, consul from the Indian consulate in Houston, yesterday met chancellor Sean ’Keefe to expedite the repatriation of the bodies to Andhra Pradesh.

Pandey and Pillai also had extensive discussions “with the task force leadership and senior law enforcement officials from LSU, city and state police”, a university release said.

About 300 members of the university community held a memorial service for the slain students at the student union ballroom.

Dandina Rao, a professor in petroleum engineering, hoped for peace in the hearts of those who knew Komma and Allam in their lives. “When human beings take the lives of other human beings, we are all at a loss. We lose our ability to rationalise,” he said.

Wayne Zhou, a professor of biology, promised that his department will seek to have a recent research paper by Komma published posthumously as a tribute to his academic work.

The university student newspaper,The Daily Reveille, quoted the biology professor as speaking about Komma at the service. “When he graduated, he would have been my colleague, my friend... Komma, you are my brother, my friend, and I will miss you. You will be remembered tonight, and you will be remembered forever.”

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