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Indian student shot dead by armed robbers

Chicago, Dec 29 (IANS) An Indian-origin college student was shot dead during a robbery attempt at a gas station in the US on Thursday and his relative critically injured, media reports said.

Nineteen-year-old Arshad Vhora was filling in for his father — who was in India to attend a wedding — at the gas station in Dolton, Illinois, when the attempted robbery took place, ABC 7 Chicago reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other victim, 55-year-old Bakar Saieed, was taken to a hospital and is in serious condition.

The business is family-owned and operated and the victims were related, though it was not immediately clear how, Chicago Sun-Times said, quoting Dolton Police chief Robert M. Collins Jr.

The attempted robbery took place about 11 a.m. and no one was in custody as of Thursday afternoon, Collins said.

Police said they received a 911 call from the Clark gas station from a man who was unable to speak. The officers rushed to the scene and found the victims.

“This is another act of senseless killing. As we know, it happens too often,” said Abdul Vhora, a relative. “He was a very intelligent kid. He was filling in for his father while his father was out of the country. His father is on his way back.”

Vhora was a sophomore business major at South Suburban College, relatives said.

Police are reviewing surveillance video from the gas station, and are investigating the incident as an armed robbery homicide. Police are also interviewing a delivery man who had just arrived at the gas station as a potential witness to the shooting. He was not injured.

According to ABC 7 Chicago, the police believe the suspects came and left on foot. Though they are investigating the shooting as an armed robbery, police said the cash register appears to be untouched and they have not had problems with the gas station in the past.

“Investigators are still combing through video and canvassing the area and seeking out potential witnesses, so right now we do not have any potential suspect information,” said Collins.

“Right now, we’re looking at one suspect but that doesn’t rule out the possibility that there may be more suspects involved.”

A $12,000 reward is being offered by the victims’ family, community activist Andrew Holmes and Dolton Mayor Riley Rogers for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

“To the perpetrators, we’re not going to stop. We’re just going to work with all the law enforcement agencies until someone is brought to justice,” Holmes said.

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