Indian American hotel owners shot in Maryland

Indian American hotel owners were shot during an argument with a guest at their New Eastern Inn in Elkton, Maryland, in the US last week.

Usha and Dilip Patel, both 59, were shot last Friday (5) in the lobby following an argument with a guest, possibly over payment, reports said.

Originally from Bharthana, Uttar Pradesh in India, Usha died and Dilip was wounded following the tragic incident, Police said.

The guest Hakeem Evans, 26, of Newark, Delaware, had been staying at the hotel for a couple of days, said Lt. Lawrence Waldridge with the Elkton Police Department.

According to reports, it is the latest example in a trend of violence toward hotel owners and Asian Americans.

The incident was caught on surveillance video.

At one point, police say, Evans put a gun between a plexiglass partition separating him from the Patels and fired. Usha was shot in the chest and Dilip was shot in the hip before the gun apparently jammed.

“Evans is then seen running back to his rented room and moments later, flees the area in a vehicle, which was occupied by another person who is not identified at this time,” according to a EPD press release.

“Elkton police arrested Evans a few hours later without incident at the Royal Farms Convenience store.”

Evans has been charged with first degree murder, first degree assault, attempted murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, according to EPD. He is being held in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond.

Dilip was taken to Christiana Hospital after the shooting where he remains in stable condition, according to the EPD.

Both attacks represent an ongoing problem, said Cecil Staton, Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) president and CEO, in a statement on the most recent shooting.

“America’s hotel owners are shocked and outraged by this senseless act of violence against two small business owners doing their jobs,” Staton said. “Attacks against hoteliers continue to increase, and this is yet another horrendous episode of violence against Asian Americans that is plaguing our society. It must stop now.”

Staton said the violence is directly connected to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The past year placed undue anxiety, pain, and uncertainty on our nation, yet hoteliers continue to welcome guests into their hotels and their communities,” he said.

“This crime compounds the anxieties hotel owners face. Every hotelier knows that something like this could happen to them at any time. Service to others defines the spirit of hospitality, and that is what makes a loss such as this so tragic.”

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