Sree Ranga Aravapalli was killed after a big night at Parx Casino, in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. The 54-year-old man was the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, Aurex Labs, for more than seven years.
Sree Ranga Aravapalli lived in Plainsboro, 20 miles from East Windsor, and about 50 miles away from the Pennsylvania casino. Monday night, into the early morning Tuesday, the N.J. pharma executive enjoyed a winning streak at the Pennsylvania casino, earning roughly $10,000. Then he cashed out.
Unfortunately, Sree Ranga Aravapalli was spotted with his winnings by Jekai Reid-John, of Norristown, Pa. The two men did not know each other, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office.
A camera at a farm stand near the casino recorded Avarapalli driving home, and Reid-John driving close behind him. Later, the same camera picked up Reid-John retracing the route the other way.
Reid-John, 27, followed Sree Ranga Aravapalli home that morning. Then he appears to have broken into Aravapalli’s home on Briardale Court, attempted to rob him, and finally tragically shot and killed him, while Aravapalli’s wife and daughter slept nearby.
At about 3:38 a.m., authorities responded to calls that there had been shots fired on Briardale Court. When they arrived, they found that Sree Ranga Aravapalli had multiple gunshot wounds. He was rushed to a hospital nearby but pronounced dead there.
The Plainsboro Police Department Chief, Frederick Tavener, said in a statement Wednesday, “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.”
The investigating officers are Detective William Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department and Detective Paul Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. Anyone with information about the killing is asked to contact them.
Jekai Reid-John was arrested in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on Thursday. Also on Thursday, Sree Ranga Aravapalli was mourned at a mausoleum in South Brunswick, N.J.
NBC News quoted Vivek Taneja, one of the mourners, who drew a lesson from Aravapalli’s death. “I’ve been to Vegas, Atlantic City, but no, I never thought that somebody would follow me. I think I need to be careful all the time, not just at casinos,” he said.
The suspect, Reid-John, has been detained in Pennsylvania pending an extradition hearing. He will face trial on a charge of first-degree murder, in New Jersey. The investigation is continuing and further charges are expected.
Chief Tavaner said that the people of Plainsboro should be confident that his officers, along with the prosecutor’s office, are conducting a thorough and systematic investigation into this killing. The community will be updated on the outcome of that investigation when appropriate, he added, and the Department is conducting “proactive and vigilant patrols.”
Aurex has manufacturing facilities in Hydeabad, India and its headquarters are in East Windsor, N.J. The company focuses on dosage forms and product development, with a proficiency at both soft gelatin capsules and tablets.
The Parx Casino and its CEO Eric Hausler offered condolences after Aravapalli’s death. The casino says that it is cooperating fully with law enforcement authorities in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and will continue to do so.
“Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of the victims at this incredibly difficult time,” said Hausler.
Sree Ranga Aravapalli was of Indian origin. A neighbor of his, also of Indian origins, Sheeza Khan, has described him as “Just a nice family man, always home and there with his wife and kids, and celebrating all the festivals.” He was a graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Aravapalli is survived by his wife, daughter, and a son.