Sree Ranga Aravapalli NJ Pharma executive followed home after $10K casino win at Parx Casino & murdered in attempted robbery by Jekai Reid-John with history of drug dealing conviction.
A wealthy pharmaceutical executive who was observed cashing out his winnings from a Pennsylvania casino was followed for 50 miles to his New Jersey home where he was murdered in an attempted robbery according to prosecutors.
Sree Ranga Aravapalli, 54, cashed out his night’s winnings of about $10,000 — in the early morning hours of Tuesday at the Parx Casino in Bensalem when he was spotted 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. The violent incident occurred as the man’s wife and daughter slept inside their home.
Prior drug dealing conviction
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.
Court records cited by the Philadelphia Inquirer stated Reid-John pleading guilty to a drug-dealing offense in 2016 in Montgomery County and being sentenced to a minimum of two to four years in state prison and eight years of probation.
He received a master’s degree in Information Technology from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and had been the CEO of two other companies, Ezminds and ePayroll.
The slaying left locals and neighbors shocked and alarmed.
‘No one wins in something like this’
‘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.’
‘In the daytime, you can at least figure out that somebody is following you. But at night, no, never,’ Vivek Taneja told NBC4 . ‘I’ve been to Vegas, Atlantic City, but no, I never thought that somebody would follow me. I think I need to be watchful all the time, not just at casinos.’
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.
Reid will be extradited to face trial in New Jersey.