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Six Indians found shot dead in California

By George Joseph in New York
Last updated on: March 31, 2009 11:46 IST
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Six Indians were reportedly killed in a suspected case of murder-suicide in Santa Clara, California on Sunday night. Though the police refused to confirm their identities, news reported claimed that the victims were natives of Wayanad district in Kerala.

The deceased were identified as Ayyankoli native Devarajan and his family members Suchitra, Asokan, Akhil, Neha and Ahna.

The Santa Clara police remained unavailable for comment.

Devarajan was an engineer at Yahoo and had worked with Microsoft before that, reports said. It triggered fears if the incident was a result of the economic meltdown.

One survivor, an adult female, sustained life-threatening injuries and is being treated at a Bay Area hospital, according to reports. Police indicated that it is Devarajan's wife. The survivor managed to run outside and collapsed on the sidewalk, according to Mercury News.

The dead include two children of Devarajan, aged 11 and 4. His brother-in-law, wife and their toddler were the others who were killed. The toddler was rushed to the hospital, but could not be saved.

KTVU News quoted Santa Clara Police Lt. Phil Cooke as saying that 'the evidence at the scene points to it being a murder - suicide. It's still early on in the investigation, but early indications are that is what we have.' He said the officers arrived at the scene in a upscale neighborhood after a 911 call at about 8:30 pm Sunday.

The police found bodies scattered around the three-story town-home, including that of the 42-year-old man whom police suspect was the shooter. Two handguns were found nearby, reports added.

The police have not given any motive behind the alleged murder-suicide.

Inside the rented house, in which the family reportedly shifted just two days back, the police also found an Indian passport. Even the surviving woman came to US recently, reports said.

The Indian Consulate's office in San Francisco is working with detectives to identify the victims.

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George Joseph in New York