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Tranquility shattered

April 2, 2009
The tranquility of a quiet neighbourhood dotted with spring trees, in Santa Clara, California, was shattered on the night of March 29. Fire Department personnel responded to a 911 call made by a neighbour, who reported seeing an injured person in front of a townhouse at 4350 Headen Way. The police arrived on the scene soon after.

"At 8.30 pm on March 29, we received a call saying that a woman had been injured. When we reached there, we found five gunshot victims, plus the sixth person, Devan Kalathat, who is believed to be the suspect. Two people were still alive, the 11-month baby and Devan's wife, who is in a critical condition. She is being treated for multiple gunshot wounds," Lieutenant Phil Cooke told

The police believe that Devan Kalathat shot and injured his wife and killed his 11-year-old son Akhil Dev and 4-year-old daughter Negha Dev.

Kalathat also allegedly killed his brother-in-law Ashok Appu Poothemkandi, 35, his wife Suchitra Sivaraman, 25, and shot the couple's 11-month-old daughter Ahana Ashok.

The Indian Consulate's Office in San Francisco is helping the police in their investigation. The Consulate confirmed the identities of the victims and contacted their family members.

The police did not release the name of Devan's wife. According to California Law (PC 293), the police cannot release the name of the victims of domestic violence.

Image: Devan Kalathat's Santa Clara town house.
Text & Photographs: Rujuta Paradkar

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