“Even My child might not have known he was dying,” said father of slain California Indian-Origin College Student 

Ritu Jha-

Twenty months ago, Abhishek Sudhesh, 25, who was gunned down on Thanksgiving Day, immigrated to California to pursue the American dream and enrolled in MS computer science at the California State University in San Bernardino. But things did not turn out as planned, and the death of their son has shattered the family.

According to San Bernardino police, Sudhesh was an employee at Astro Motel in San Bernardino and died of a gunshot wound. The 42-year-old Eric Devon Turner,  a suspect who was staying in the motel fled on foot, however, he surrendered himself into authorities on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 30.

Sergeant John Echevarria, spokesperson at San Bernardino P.D. told indica, “The motive for the shooting is under investigation and we got the call at 12:37 pm.”

When asked if it was a gang member the officer said the suspect Eric Devon Turner, 42 called for service and was alone and what happened was pretty quick.

However, according to Sudhesh’s father Sudesh Chand, he was shot in the head and he collapsed in 10 seconds.

He told indica over the phone, what he learned, according to investigating officer, is that  [Sudhesh] was shot in the head.

“Even my child might not have known he was dying,” Chand said with a hoarse voice, controlling his tears.

Abhishek Sudhesh second from left with his family.

“He was such an encouraging personality, nice person, a good thinker, always open to have more knowledge in computers and in one shot this man finished everything,” Chand, who is a yoga teacher at the Upanishat Yoga Centre in Kuvempunagar said.

Chand said he last talked with Sudhesh on Tuesday, Nov. 26. He had a cold and sore throat and fever. He had tonsillitis and was planning to get it operated on.

He also said that Sudhesh’s his professor told him to go for his Ph.D, and he had two options, either go for a job or go for a Ph.D. in Computer Science. He wanted to help the world through computers and had good knowledge of computers. He was still enrolled in computer science at the California State University in San Bernardino, and planning to do a Ph.D. in Computer Science, his dream and everything is vanished now.

“He was offered a Ph.D. and also was working as an Associate professor. He has been appreciated by his college and authority and the college Vice President told us we lost an asset from the university,” said Chand.

Sharing about his son’s personality Chand said he use to help new people coming from India. He was not after money or name-fame but always tried to help new students in need and even paid for their expenses from his pocket.

He would help new students get accommodation and sometimes would bring them to his house and help them get settled.

Sudhesh used to help college students in India as well.

“We were always proud of him and he always wanted to come to the US,” he said.

“Now we are totally devastated,” Chand told indica and added that he used to say he would settle in the US.

“We are going to perform the last rites of Abhishek [in the US] and come back,” said his father.

“That was his plan and dream and everything is shattered now. His is lying dead now and we are totally devastated and don’t know how we would gain strength to continue the rest of our life,” said Chand and after a pause sharing further about Sudhesh said he was disciplined, teetotaler, he was not into smoking, drugs, and not a party kind.

Sudhesh was full of vibe and energy and early this summer he asked his father to carry an International driving license so that he could drive in the US.

“He bought a new car and encouraged me to drive with him and would say Appa(father) bring the ID and drive the car. He was so happy he got a license for driving.”

Chand said he was so confident his son is beside him that he did not miss the right side and he drove over 1500 miles.

Recalling his visit in June through August of this year, Chand said they both visited Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, “Our first vacation together in the US and we drove in downtown Los Angeles, traffic was heavy.”

“But I drove with my son, my son was next to me and his vibration…radiating support and encouragement it was all very positive,” he said. “ I never thought I would [drive on the] left.”

“It keeps on coming and on and off and [Sudhesh’s mother] cries,” said Chand, recalling his last US visit.

“These young boys and students have their own set of ideas and energy and I don’t know how they work outside. Taking risks. Sometimes children get carried away.”

Sumati S. Rao, an officer at the Consulate General of India in San Francisco told indica, the Consulate General of India is deeply sorry for the tragic loss of life.

“We have been in touch with the family on a regular basis and have offered all assistance,” she said. “We are also working with the local authorities, including the San Bernardino Police and Coroner’s office to assist the family in their hour of grief.”

Mohan Nannapaneni, founder of TeamAid, a non-profit that supports victims and families affected by tragic and life-altering incidents in the US told indica, they are working with the families and the San Francisco Bay Area coordinator is working in California.

He said that in November alone there were 14 incidents and the San Bernardino case is one of them. “We were initially working to send the body and the autopsy is not completed and will take time, so the parents decided to do a local cremation,” he said.