A wealthy pharmaceutical executive was followed for 50 miles from a Pennsylvania casino to his New Jersey home where he was murdered in an attempted robbery while his wife and daughter were sleeping, according to police.
Sree Ranga Aravapalli, 54, cashed out his night’s big winnings — about $10,000 — in the early morning hours of Tuesday morning at the Parx Casino in Bensalem when he was spotted with the loot by 27-year-old Jekai Reid-John, of Norristown, Pa.
Reid-John, who did not know Aravapalli, followed the exec in his car as he drove back to his quiet, affluent neighborhood in Plainsboro, NJ, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Just after 3:30 a.m., Plainsboro police responded to a report of shots fired in Aravapalli’s typically sleepy neighborhood, officials said.
Police found Aravapalli at the scene with several gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, authorities said. Investigators determined that it was an attempted robbery.
A camera at a nearby farmstand caught footage of Avarapalli driving home in the early morning, with Reid-John trailing him close behind, police told NBC 4. The same camera later caught him driving back.
Reid-John was arrested and charged on Tuesday in Montgomery County, Pa. with one count of first-degree murder. The arrest came the same day that Avarapalli’s family and friends mourned at Avarapalli’s funeral service at a cemetery in South Brunswick, NBC reported.
Police said that more charges are likely to be filed. The suspect was detained in Pennsylvania where he remains pending an extradition hearing. When sent to New Jersey, he will be lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center, cops said.
Avarapelli has been the CEO of Aurex Labs in East Windsor for the past seven and a half years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The CEO of Parx Casino Eric Hausler released a statement in which he said his business is cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation.
“We are deeply saddened by the report that earlier this week a customer of Parx Casino was the victim of a homicide at his home after returning from a visit to the casino. We have learned that law enforcement officials have arrested a suspect who followed the victim home from the casino that night.
“Parx Casino has been cooperating fully with local and state law enforcement agencies in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and will continue to do so. Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim at this incredibly difficult time.”
Police Chief Frederick Tavener offered his condolences to Avarapalli’s family, who was reportedly well known in the local community.
“I want to offer my sincerest condolences to the Aravapalli family for their tragic loss. This is an unexpected and alarming event for their family, friends and our entire community,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Neighbors were shocked at the violence.
“No one wins in something like this. How can the person that did this think they could get away with it? Why would they kill him?” Abhikanit Kar, of Plainsboro told ABC 6. “You never expect this. We were shocked when we came to know what happened.”