of the American Dream: Indian kills family of five, self
in LA (From TOI)
Multiple gunshots echoed in the upscale home of an Indian
family in a quiet, gated, suburban Los Angeles community
last weekend, echoing the troubled times in America. When
police turned up on Monday morning after calls from a concerned
neighbour waiting for a carpool ride, they found the body
of 45-year old Karthik Rajaram, an unemployed financial
advisor, lying in one room with a handgun he had used to
shoot himself dead.
him lay his two youngest sons Arjuna (7) and Ganesha (12),
both shot dead. In different rooms across the house they
found the bodies of Karthiks wife Subasri (39), his
mother-in-law Indra Ramasesham (69), and his eldest son
Krishna (19). They all appeared to have been shot to death
by Karthik Rajaram.
also found two suicide notes one for the cops and
one for extended family and friends -- and a will. In them,
Rajaram he spoke of his financial difficulties and took
responsibility for killing his family members, police said.
did not elaborate on the contents except to suggest that
Rajaram appeared to be in dire financial straits.
is a perfect American family behind me that has absolutely
been destroyed,'' LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore told reporters.
''It is critical to step up and recognize we are in some
pretty troubled times.''
had an MBA in finance from University of California Los
Angeles (UCLA), and formerly worked for PriceWaterhouseCoopers
and Sony Pictures. But he had been unemployed for several
months, according to local media reports citing authorities.
also determined that he was at least the part-owner of a
financial holding company, SKGL LLC, which was incorporated
in Nevada, ostensibly to hold his family assets.
family appears to have been well-off at one time. According
to the Los Angeles Times, they sold their home in Northridge
in 2006 for $750,000, making a sizeable profit on a home
they purchased in 1997 for $274,000. They had also taken
out two loans for $241,400.
once made more than $1.2 million in a London-based venture
fund before he ran out of luck playing the stock market,
reports said. A 2001 article in The Daily Telegraph of London,
under the headline ''Bust, but big bucks for the big boys,''
called Rajaram a ''winner'' in a deal for NanoUniverse,
a LA- and London-based venture fund taken public on the
London Stock Exchange. For a 12,500-pound investment, Rajaram,
one of the company's founders, received 875,000 pounds --
or about $1.2 million in 2001 dollars -- after a voluntary
liquidation, the newspaper reported.
the family rented their current 2800-sq foot home, they
lived a typical upper class life. They had two cars, a Chevy
Suburban and a Lexus SUV and they reportedly paid their
rent on time.
incident sent shock waves through the neighbourhood, the
larger Indian community and American financial world on
a day the monetary world saw yet another bloodbath. Indians
are widely known and recognized as the most successful ethnic
community in the U.S with the highest per capita income
among all segments of the population, including Whites.
the country is now starting to hear of many hard luck stories,
including among Indians, although nothing like this. And
not in the City of Angels, far removed from the frenzied
financial world of New York.
immediately clear if Rajarams extreme action stemmed
from the ongoing economic turmoil, but even the police,
unusually, referred to the troubled times. And as the story
burnt the wires, the online community debated the incident
the talk of bailouts for these big financial companies take
the front page on all the papers, but the impact of the
economic crisis on individuals is sometimes overlooked.
This is a sad and tragic reminder of how quickly people
can spiral into a horrible place,'' one blogger lamented.
said the Rajarams were a quiet, decent family who pretty
much kept to themselves and did not socialize much. The
eldest son Krishna, a Fulbright scholar majoring in business
economics at his fathers alma mater UCLA, appeared
to be visiting home at the time of the incident.
school authorities said the two younger kids were also extremely
bright and the parents had been very much involved in their
education. The family did not appear to be particularly
troubled, although some neighbors told reporters that Rajaram
was pretty intense.
to the police, there was no evidence that Rajaram had sought
help from mental health professionals. However, the context
of the letters and the fact Rajaram had purchased the handgun
as recently as September 16 indicated that his actions were
''premeditated,'' they said.
had become despondent over his financial situation,'' Deputy
Chief Moore related. In one of his letters, he talked of
two options: taking his own life or taking his own life
and that of his family. ''He talked himself into the second
strategy,'' Moore said.
of the neighbours reported that Rajaram had spoken to her
twice in the last two weeks asking whether she would be
home this past weekend. He urged her to keep her side windows
shut because he had heard of burglaries in the area. He
seemed nervous -- shaking, pacing and taking notes on a
notepad as he spoke to her, she told the LA Times. She
surmised after the bloody massacre that he was trying to
have her close her windows so that she wouldn't hear anything.
no one did, because it was not until Monday when another
neighbour rang the Rajarams' bell to remind Subasri, who
worked at a local pharmacy, about the carpool ride did the
tragic incident come to light.
- CHIDANAND RAJGHATTA,TN