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Three arrested for shooting 2 Indian students

india Updated: May 23, 2008 10:01 IST

Three young men, including two who had been working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, have been arrested in the killing of two Indian-born doctoral students at Louisiana State University late last year, authorities said on Thursday. Michael Jermaine Lewis, 19, and Casey Gathers, 20, were arrested Thursday and were being booked on two counts each of first-degree murder, said Gary Durham, acting chief of the LSU police department. Devin Jamell Parker, 19, was arrested Wednesday on an unrelated robbery charge, also was being booked on the murder counts. Authorities refused to take questions after announcing the arrests at a news conference, so it wasn't clear what led police to the men or whether they had lawyers.

Col. Kirk Frith of the Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office earlier said deputies and state police arrested one man on a fishing boat in Freshwater City and another on a dock as he left a boat in Intracoastal City.

The bodies of Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma and Kiran Kumar Allam, both doctoral students from India, were found late Dec. 13 in Allam's apartment on the LSU campus. Each had been shot once in the head. Komma was bound with a computer cable, and Allam was found near the door.

At the time, police described the attack as a home invasion but said there was no forced entry at the apartment complex, a cluster of three-story cinderblock buildings near a high-crime area of Baton Rouge.

Allam, 33, was a chemistry student from Hyderabad, India, and Komma was a 31-year-old biology student from Kurnool, India. The shootings shocked parents of many Indians studying in this country because the South Asian nation sends many students here each year. The killings occurred near the end of final exams, as many of the university's 28,000 students - and possibly potential witnesses - headed home. Police said they also had to overcome reluctance to talk to investigators among some international students, who worried that doing so might damage their visa status.

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