Man arrested over fatal shooting of UAE student in US

The suspect was a multiple felon previously convicted of manslaughter
Man arrested over fatal shooting of UAE student in US
Neil Kumar was originally from Kerala, but spent most of his life in Sharjah.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Tue 30 Jul 2019 11:05 AM

A man has been arrested in the US state of Alabama for the murder of a UAE student during a gas station robbery last week, local police said late Monday night.

Neil Kumar, 30, was working part-time at a petrol station in Alabama, where he was enrolled in a master’s degree programme in computer science at Troy University.

Kumar was originally from Kerala, but spent most of his life in Sharjah.

According to local media reports, the suspect, 23-year old Leon Terrell Flowers, was arrested without a struggle on Saturday.

“Our phones were constantly ringing,” Pike Country Sheriff Russell Thomas was quoted as saying by Alabama’s WSFA12 news outlet.

Thomas added that it is not known whether Flowers knew Kumar before the crime, but added that surveillance video of the incident indicates “he knew what time the store opened”.

On probation

According to WSFA12, Flowers is well known to local law enforcement, having been convicted of four prior felonies.

In 2015, he was charged with murder in the death of a 19-year old man, for which he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter. While prosecutors had at the time asked that he serve more than 30 years in prison, he served a total of three.

He was on probation for that crime when the murder of Kumar took place.

“In my opinion, he shouldn’t have been out to begin with,” District Attorney Thomas Anderson was quoted as saying.

The Kumar family was in attendance at a press conference announcing Flowers’ arrest, although they did not speak.

“I don’t know the depths of their pain,” the District Attorney said. “But I assure you our office and law enforcement here, we’re going to fight tooth and nail to try and achieve justice on our end.”

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