Indian-origin Man Arrested for Robbery, Murder of Indian Student in California

Dharampreet Singh Jassar, 20, was shot dead at a grocery store after it was robbed by the Indian-origin man and another individual.


An Indian-origin man was arrested on Nov. 15 for the murder of a 20-year-old Indian student who was working as a clerk at a convenience store outside the city limits of Madera in California.

Two robbers, including the suspect — Armitraj Singh Athwal, 21, of Modesto — stole cigarette boxes and some cash from the Tackle Box store before shooting Dharampreet Singh Jassar of Caruther on the way out.

Jasser hid behind the cash counter but was shot by one of the robbers while they were leaving, a report said. The incident was reported to the police when a customer entered the and found Jasser on the floor.

Armitraj Singh Athwal

“Some people put way too low of a value on the lives both of the victims and the families that they disrupt by doing things like this,” Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney said in a statement. “I think this was a pretty cowardly act for this person to do that on the way out the door after the clerk had done everything to comply with their needs to take someone else’s property.”

Fresno County police found an unregistered .38-caliber revolver, a .22-caliber assault pistol that had been reported stolen, drugs and a blue bandana noticeable, which was visible in the CCTV camera footage of the robbery at the store, in Athwal’s car. He was arrested for having multiple guns and drugs in the car. His car had veered off the road near Kerman. Police believe that the other robber and Athwal separated after the heist.

“Madera County detectives were contacted and follow-up investigation revealed that Athwal is likely the suspect who shot the victim during the robbery,” the Madera County statement said.

Athwal’s bail is set at $1 million. He will be transferred to Madera Department of Corrections.

“Dharampreet was a completely innocent victim, just doing his job, when he was senselessly killed during this robbery,” Varney said.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh requested External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to look into the matter.

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