$5,000 reward in US varsity killings
The reward amount was raised from the usual $1,000 as investigators believe there are still people who know something.india Updated: Dec 21, 2007 02:22 IST
Police offered a $5,000 reward for credible information about the killers of two Indian students at a US university as tips poured in after the release of sketches of two suspects.
The reward amount was raised on Wednesday from the usual $1,000 as investigators believe there are still people who know something about the December 13 shootings at Louisiana State University (LSU) campus in Baton Rouge.
"We need that information," said Sergeant Don Kelly, a Baton Rouge police spokesman, as task force investigators received several calls from tipsters after the release on Monday of sketches of two of four black men suspected to be involved in the killings of Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma, 31, and Kiran Kumar Allam, 33.
The additional reward - to be paid only for information received before midnight Christmas Eve leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspects responsible for the murders - comes with $4,000 from a private donor who wishes to remain anonymous, police said.
Investigators are currently working on the theory the men were scouting for an opportunity to rob someone and might have seen Komma arrive at the Edward Gay Apartments in Baton Rouge to visit his friend Allam, and may have followed Komma into Allam's apartment.
"We could spend hours trying to follow a tip that could be cleared up in five minutes with a phone call," Kelly said, again reminding people that their identities would not be revealed, even during a follow-up call.
Since Thursday, a five-agency task force created to solve the shootings have canvassed Edward Gay Apartments and its surrounding area at least once. They have combed Allam's apartment, which is still marked off with yellow and black tape and being guarded by an LSU police officer.
The task force is made up of people from the LSU Police Department, the Baton Rouge Police Department, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana State Police and the US Marshal's Office.
While those efforts have yielded the sketches and other tips, investigators are still encouraging people to provide them with more information, Kelly said.
"The farther away you get from an event, the less likely it's going to be solved, especially in this case," he said. "It happened around the holidays when people are leaving and a lot of the victims' family members have returned to India."
That's not to say the task force is going to quit after a few days, he said.
"We are in this for the long haul."
Meanwhile, residents at Edward Gay Apartments are keeping the memories of Allam and Komma alive via a memorial wall at the complex.
Flowers, pastel-coloured paper and markers lined two tables on Tuesday set up on the side of the complex's office building. Above the tables were notes about the victims taped to one of the outside walls.
"I always remember you as sitting by the wall and saying hello every time I passed," one note says. "Be in peace."
A note from all 288 residents of the complex says: "Our heartfelt and deepest condolences."
To make Edward Gay Apartments residents feel safer after the shootings, LSU has implemented 24-hour security, said Kristine Calongne, an LSU spokeswoman. Clips on apartment doors used to hold paper messages were placed elsewhere because when they were used peepholes could be blocked, she said.
The building will be wired for security cameras this week, Calongne said. The cameras are part of a two-year effort to add and update security cameras initially installed in 1997.
Wiring various buildings across campus for the cameras began this summer, she said. Edward Gay Apartments became a priority after Thursday's shootings. University officials are also listening to people's suggestions regarding safety at the complex and on campus, Calongne said.