iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
An Indian American man was killed in a hit-and-run on Tuesday, March 8. in Silver Spring, Washington DC; Police reported that the victim was run over by his own car after the suspect had stolen from him.
Dr. Rakesh Patel, 33, of Silver Springs, Maryland, had his car stolen on Vernon Street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington DC on Tuesday around 8 pm. Patel had left his car running when he got out to give a package to his girlfriend Rachel Lincoln.
As the couple embraced, at least one carjacker jumped inside the doctor’s car and sped off.
Patel ran after them but was run over by the thief when he caught up with them on the corner of Florida Avenue and 18th Street, a busy intersection surrounded by row houses and shops and is home to a diverse community. The Adams Morgan community is known for its nightlife and international dining on 18th Street – where Patel was hit – and having cheaper rent than other parts of the DC area. Despite its lower rent, the area is considered one of the oldest and nicest neighborhoods in Washington DC.
He was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a nearby hospital.
Lincoln described the moment as ‘a nightmare,’ as she witnessed her boyfriend’s final moments, and now his family is left grieving over the senseless killing.
‘[He died] for what? A car?’ his mother Charulatta Patel told NBC Washington. ‘I always used to call him my baby.’
MedStar also said it was ‘heartbroken to learn of the sudden passing’ of Patel and that he was completing a residency fellowship in infectious diseases and critical care.
‘Dr. Patel will be greatly missed,’ MedStar Washington wrote on Twitter.
Patel was in DC on a critical care fellowship at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Patel was taken to a hospital after being hit, where he was pronounced dead.
Police have since released a video of the moment Patel’s car was abandoned by two men on 16th Street and Roxanna Road near the Maryland border. Both dressed in dark clothing, they can be seen exiting the car and carrying a bottle of bleach and what appeared to be floormats.
Police believe the two men used the bleach in an attempt to clean the car of evidence, NBC Washington reported. They were reportedly pouring bleach into the car.
The two suspects are still at large and the Metropolitan Police Department is now asking the public’s help in finding them. The police are offering a $1,000 reward for ‘anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.’
‘I don’t think I have heard of an incident this brazen and tragic in Adams Morgan,’ Chairwoman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission Fiona Clem told the Washington Post. ‘I’m at a loss, really, to say more than that.’
Councilwoman Brianne Nadeau also said she as ‘reeling from the senseless death’ in a press release. ‘This is a horrible tragedy, like any violence in our community,’ she said. ‘I will work with our authorities to bring justice for this victim, as I do for all victims here in the District.’
Washington, like places across the US, has seen a huge spike in carjackings, vehicle thefts, and major crimes in the aftermath of anti-police protests that followed the killing of an African-American man by police two years ago in Minnesota.
The Washington Post reported that carjackings in Washington “spiked 200 percent from 2019 to 2021, and continue to rise this year”.