iNDICA NEWS BUREAU
An Indian-American woman was killed and her husband left critical when a man shot the motel-owner couple over a rental dispute in Elkton, Maryland on March 5.
Dilipbhai Ishvarbrai Patel, 69, and his wife, Ushaben Patel, 59, were shot around 9pm at their New Eastern Motel, located at 291 East Pulaski Highway, over a dispute regarding a room rental, according to Elkton police’s report.
Ushaben (seen in photograph above) was shot in her upper torso and succumbed to her injuries. Dilipbhai, who received a single gunshot wound to the lower torso, is in critical but stable condition in Christiana Hospital.
The suspect, Hakeem Markel Evans, 26, is a resident of Newark, Delaware was arrested a short time later without incident at the Royal Farms convenience store located at Delancy Road and Route 40 in Maryland.
According to court records, Evans who remains in custody at the Cecil County Detention Center has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony or a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm. His preliminary hearing is set for April 2.
Lieutenant Lawrence Waldridge of the Elkton Police Department told www.cecildaily.com that surveillance cameras videotaped the shootings, court records show. EPD investigators were able to determine that the shooter seen in that footage was Evans, the same man who had rented Room 206 at that motel at some point before the incident, police reported.
Charging documents indicate that EPD officers also were able to speak with witnesses.
“The video showed Evans at the partition, speaking with management, and he seemed to be arguing for a short period of time with management, before he puts a handgun through the glass hole of the partition and shoots what appears to be three rounds at the victims before the firearm appears to jam,” the court records said.
Evans’s criminal record showed a May 2014 conviction in Delaware for second-degree assault (recklessly or intentionally causing physical injury with a weapon), according to the charging documents.
Cecil P Staton, president & CEO, Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) issued a statement on the murder of Ushaben Patel and the wounding of her husband Dilipbhai Patel.
“America’s hotel owners are shocked and outraged by this senseless act of violence against two small business owners doing their jobs,” Staton said. “We offer our deepest sympathies to Dilipbhai Patel and his family, and our community is mourning with them today.
“Attacks against hoteliers continue to increase, and this is yet another horrendous episode of violence against Asian Americans that is plaguing our society. It must
stop now. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, hoteliers have worked to ease the tensions of everyday life for their guests. The past year placed undue anxiety, pain, and uncertainty on our nation, yet hoteliers continue to welcome guests into their hotels and their communities.
“This crime compounds the anxieties hotel owners face. Every hotelier knows that something like this could happen to them at any time. Service to others defines the spirit of hospitality, and that is what makes a loss such as this so tragic. We are confident
that Maryland authorities will help the Patel family find justice.”