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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Will never visit US again, says father of Mohali youth shot dead in California

“I don’t know whether it was a hate crime, but killing an innocent boy for no fault of his is not justified. I am still unable to believe that my son is no more.”

punjab Updated: Aug 01, 2017 18:11 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Mohali
Ranjit Singh Bhangoo
Ranjit Singh Bhangoo

Six days after a Mohali youth was shot dead at a gas station in California's Sacramento county, his father Ranjit Singh Bhangoo said he had never thought that the country that nurtured his son’s dream of making it big as a businessman would end up giving him such an unfair treatment.

“I don’t know whether it was a hate crime, but killing an innocent boy for no fault of his is not justified. I am still unable to believe that my son is no more,” said 66-year-old Bhangoo, talking to HT over phone from New Zealand.

A resident of Sector 70, he along with his wife Manmeet Kaur is visiting his daughter, who recently gave birth to a boy, in Auckland.

The family celebration, however, turned sour after they came to know last Tuesday that Simranjit Singh, 20, was killed by three locals following an altercation with his co-worker at a gas station, where he used to work part time.

Simranjit, an alumnus of Saupin’s School, Sector 32, Chandigarh, moved to the US in October 2015 to study engineering and was currently staying with Bhangoo's elder daughter and her husband. His younger daughter lives in Mohali.

A retired employee of the Punjab School Education Board, Bhangoo said Simranjit was very bright in studies and very affectionate. 

“He often used to tell me that he will set up his own business after completing studies. He was also loved by people of all ethnicities at the gas station where he used to work in the evening,” said Bhangoo, who is a green-card holder in the US.

“I will never visit that country again, as it took my son's life,” said the father.

Bhangoo said his wife was inconsolable ever since the tragedy.

“We are just left with Simranjit’s memories. This is the worst that could have happened to us at this age,” he said.

Bhangoo's son-in-law Gurtejpreet Singh said the family wants the US authorities to make sure such incidents don't happen again.

Bhangoo, his wife and daughter's family will reach Mohali on August 5. Simranjit's body is expected to arrive by August 6, as his elder sister and brother-in-law have already processed transportation documents with the Indian consulate at San Francisco.  

According to a press release uploaded by the Sacramento county police on July 29, they are looking for two suspects: Rodolfo Zavala, 23, and Ramon Zavala, 15. Alexander Lopez, 40, has already been arrested.

First Published: Aug 01, 2017 16:44 IST

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