Murder & Suicide in Silicon Valley Leave Five Dead
By Riaz Haq

Five members of a South Indian family have died in an apparent murder-suicide in Sunnyvale , CA. A 42-year-old Yahoo engineer, Devan Kalathat aka Raghavan Devarajan, opened fire on his wife, his two children and his wife's brother's family who were all living in the same townhouse in Sunnyvale, and then turned the gun on himself.

According to media reports, Kalathat was a naturalized US citizen who moved from India to Sunnyvale 15 years ago. Kalathat's wife, Abha, is reported to be in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds in her upper body. Sunnyvale Police identified the dead victims as Kalathat's children: 11-year-old Akhil Dev and four-year-old Negha Dev; Kalathat's brother-in-law Ashok Appu Poothemkandi, 35; Poothemkandi's wife, Suchitra Sivaraman, 25; and the Poothemkandis' infant daughter, Ahana Ashok.
In a story posted Tuesday, the Times of India had an interview with Kalathat's father-in-law, Appu Master, an 80-year-old retired schoolteacher, in Tamil Nadu. Master told the news organization that the shooter had a "quarrel" with Master's son, Poothemkandi.
Ashok Kumar Sinha of the Consulate General of India in San Francisco said it helped police notify relatives and will be working with the family to claim the bodies. Relatives from India and England are on their way to Sunnyvale.
While this murder-suicide is very tragic, the news of violent crime or deadly violence among South Asian-Americans in Silicon Valley is very rare. Most members of the community are well educated with solid middle class background. Many own their own homes and are known to be highly family-oriented and send their children to the best schools in the valley.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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