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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Fatehgarh Sahib village awaits body of youth murdered in US

Gurpreet Singh Mehak, Hindustan Times  Fatehgarh Sahib, August 22, 2013
First Published: 19:52 IST(22/8/2013) | Last Updated: 19:53 IST(22/8/2013)

A pall of gloom descended on Majri Kishnewally village near Amloh in this district on Thursday following the news of the murder of a village youth in the US.

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Manpreet Singh Ghuman, 27, was murdered on August 6. According to the deceased's relatives, the body will reach India on Friday and is likely to be cremated in the village on Saturday.

They said the deceased's relative, Avtar Singh, was accompanying the body. The relatives said they did not have the courage to break the news to his mother. Dr Raghbir Shukla, an Amloh-based physician, said it was shocking not only for the village but for the entire region. He said the Punjab government should take up the matter with the Centre, which in turn should take it up with the US government. Dr Shukla said the safety of Punjabis living in the US should be ensured.

Manpreet, son of Surinder Singh, a farmer, migrated to the US two years ago. NRI Satnam Singh Chahal, senior office-bearer of North American Punjab Association who lives in California, said the Punjabi community living in the US was in shock following the incident.

Chahal said Manpreet, who was a clerk at a petrol pump in South Lake Tahoe city in El Dorado County in California, was shot dead. He died after receiving a bullet in his upper torso.

While quoting police, Chahal said robbery did not seem to be the motive. The suspect had not been identified. He said a customer walked into the petrol pump and found Manpreet lying on the floor with blood around him. The police were called and he was declared dead at the scene.

Surveillance video showed a thin man, about 5 feet, 8 inches, entering the pump through the front door. The man was wearing dark clothing and a mask over his face. During a brief encounter with the clerk, the man raised a handgun and shot Manpreet, who fell down on the floor and the man fled.

Chahal said South Lake Tahoe detectives were working with the El Dorado County Sheriff's and District Attorney's offices as well as the FBI on the investigation.

In the search for potential leads, police were gathering information concerning all aspects of the victim's life, including his possible interactions with disgruntled customers or any troubled personal relationships.

He said the Lake Tahoe Secret Witness Programme had offered a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. An anonymous donor also contacted Secret Witness to contribute an additional $2,500 to the reward.

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