Governor Missouri, Rolla/Missouri Mayor, మార్చి 13, 2007Posted by Telangana Media in Telangana Articles.
To: Governor Missouri, Rolla/Missouri Mayor, Attorney General Missouri, Indian Ambassador to USA/Washington DC, Attorney General USA. Dear Sir/Madam, We would like to bring to your notice Sujith Venkatramolla’s current legal situation and request you, as a member of the Indian Community, to assist us in presenting his case so as to plead for a minimal sentence. It is heart-moving story; a diligent Gold medallist student is behind bars in the
USA for an act he never imagined he would do in his lifetime. Like most other immigrants who make their way to the United States, Sujith had dreamed of living the “American dream”, going to the extent of borrowing a great deal of money to make his dream possible. But his dreams and his future have now been shattered by this one unfortunate incident. Sujith Venkatramolla, a 22-year-old graduate student, was arrested at the University of Missouri-Rolla. The incident started when Venkatramolla brandished a knife and showed a bag, which he said contained a bomb. He also claimed to have anthrax. At that point he was subdued with a taser gun and taken into custody. By the end of the day it was clear that the bomb threat and the anthrax scare were bogus, part of an elaborate attempt at a police-assisted suicide. There was no bomb and the substance thought to be anthrax was powdered sugar. Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney Courtney George had filed six felony charges against Venkatramolla. Rolla’s mayor, William S. Jenks III said at a press conference, quote :“…the bomb threat and the anthrax scare turned out to be false by day’s end”. Law enforcement officials questioned Venkatramolla’s roommates who were living with him in an off-campus apartment. Although his roommates were interviewed, police believe Venkatramolla, who they describe as a “distraught and depressed student,” was acting alone. It is believed that Sujith has been distraught over schoolwork is chronically depressed. Sujith was supposedly upset after receiving the first two ‘B’ grades ever in his career so far, and was falling behind in his classes due to ill health. This is a compelling story. Even before this incident, Sujith has been struggling with chronic depression. First accounts of information show that Sujith’s reaction was more of an emotional breakdown. After lengthy conversations with Sujith’s brother, Bhuvith, about this incident and their family background we learnt that Sujith has always been a hardworking and very friendly student. He is a Gold medallist in
Hyderabad, India. His family comes from a middle class income background. Sujith’s father passed away when Sujith was in his 8th grade. His brother Bhuvith took over the family responsibilities while in his 10th grade. He worked hard to guide his family and helped his brother get through Engineering degree course. They have had to incur huge debts to send Sujith for a higher education in the
United States (throughbankloans and personal borrowings from relatives and friends). Sujith has been in the
US for a little over 6 months now. A look at some of the e-mails that Sujith sent to his friends before the incident reveals that he was emotionally troubled and might have been suffering from chronic depression. He even attempted to commit suicide on more than one occasion when he found himself helpless. He thought a lot about his family situation and the burden he brought on the family through financial expenses incurred for his education. His family is in a dire financial state now. At this juncture, this family needs emotional, financial and legal support and guidance. A Defense Attorney has already been assigned to deal with this case. However, having legal guidance and support from within the Indian community will help us to coordinate with defense team in the right way. I sincerely appeal to all members to do your part in supporting a member of our community financially or otherwise. This would be a major challenge to this great group of people and an opportunity to help our own community member in best possible ways. Let us join hands to make a difference. Based on interactions with the legal team, the best option would be to involve Indian, local and central government officials to hand over this case to Indian Embassy officials in
Washington, D.C. We appeal to Indian diplomats and political leaders to act swiftly to rescue this misguided young student. One of the senior Indian community member had to say following: “I have advised the Family at the onset of this incident to approach the Ministry of External affairs in India so they would direct and advise the Embassy here to represent or they can advise to approach the State department and the Department of Homeland Security, who have the right to ask the Attorney General of the state to look all the circumstance of the case and request the court to evaluate the subject’s mental health. If no objections are posed by the government, the judge can cancel the case if both parties agree to suspend the charges, and victim can voluntarily leave the country in stipulated time under supervision “. Sujith’s Brother Bhuvith Kumar can be reached at follow Email/Phone Directly: Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org & India Phone: +91 9885440444 Please contact following people in
USA for donations and/or contributions for this family: Parmesh Bheem Reddy (1-908-240-4562 , email@example.com), Rayadas Manthena (1-603-219-3462 , firstname.lastname@example.org), Sharath Vemula (1-585-576-4618 , email@example.com), & Buchanna Gajula(1-510-673-7399 , firstname.lastname@example.org). We have been closely working with family members and defense attorney about the situation. We will keep you all posted with the developments from time to time. We thank you all for your direct or indirect support with this situation. Please do the needed help. Sincerely, Friday, March 09, 2007
Rayadas ManthenaMember “The Nizamabad Organization” Non-Profit NRI Group,
05001 USA Mr. Arun Kumar, Consul GeneralConsulate General of
60611, U.S.A., Subject: Sujith Venkatramolla fromUniversity of
Missouri – Rolla
Dear Sir: We would like to bring it to your notice about Sujith Venkatramolla’s current legal situation and request as NRI Community to do the right thing and to rescue young, depressed and ill-informed student from behind the bars.
It is heart moving story in that Sujith is an incredibly bright student to earn himself a Gold Medal for his academic excellence at the top of his Engineering class would think of bringing harm to himself. The only credible explanation seems to be that he was depressed and homesick perhaps as a student with financial burdens and academic pressure all coupled at the same time on a young mind of a man in his early Twenties. Like any other immigrant who comes to
United States, Sujith had dreamt of “American Dream”. He had to incur huge loans to come to higher studies in States. His expectations to perform on par with his past accomplishments in academics might also have caused him to go over the edge.
It is a compelling story. Even before this incident, Sujith has been struggling with “Chronic Depression”. First account of information shows that Sujith’s reaction was more of an “Emotional Breakdown”. At this critical time, there is nothing to be gained from pursuing Sujith’s case with any and all charges other than aggravating to or adding to his mental condition. He currently requires the care of his near and dear, his family that he left in
India. We request you to take all necessary actions based on humanitarian grounds.
For more information please refer to the local newspaper article from the Rolla Daily News: http://www.therolladailynews.com/articles/2007/02/28/news/news01.txt
People who had lengthy conversations with Sujith’s brother Bhuvith about this incident and their family background understand that Sujith is a hardworking and most friendly student. He is a Gold Medallist in
Hyderabad, India. His family comes from a typical Indian middle class background. Sujith’s father passed away when Sujith was in his 8th Grade. His brother Bhuvith took over the family responsibilities when he is in is 10th Grade only. He worked hard to guide his family and helped his brother get through Engineering degree course. They incurred huge debts to send Sujith for higher education in the
United States (through bank loans and personal borrowings from relatives and friends). Sujith has been in the
US a little over 6 months.
Looking at some of the forwarded emails that Sujith had sent to his friends before the incident reveals that he was “Emotionally Troubled” and he may be suffering from “Chronic Depression”. He thought a lot about his family situation and the burden he brought on the family through financial hardships/expenses that are incurred for his education. Current state of Sujith’s family situation ranged from “Sympathetic” to “Dire”. Sujith’s Brother Bhuvith Kumar can be reached at follow Email/Phone Directly: Email Address: email@example.com & India Phone: +91 9885440444 . It is with hope and trust that Indian Community has in the wisdom of American court system, Diplomats of India and Prosecutors engaged to seek the truth we wish for you to consider all options that would help to alleviate the situation of Sujith through all means possible. “If he can be sent back to his country of origin,
India, to be with his family that would greatly help in healing the young mind. It does not absolve him of causing the trouble he caused and the punishment he deserves can only truly be felt once he gets better in his mental status”.
Please kindly do the needed help. Sincerely Yours,
USA NRI Community Members Rayadas Manthena – “The Nizamabad Organization” Madhu K. Reddy – “TDF-USA President”Parmesh Bheem Reddy – “ATA Coordinator/President, Palamoor NRI”Buchanna Gajula – “ATA Coordinator/The Nizamabad OrganizationVishweshwar Kalavala – “TANA Board Member”Sharath Vemula – “TDF Exec/The Nizamabad Organization”Anil Eravatrhi – “The Nizamabad OrganizationDr. Venkat Maroju – “TDF Executive Board”Hanmanth Reddy – “ATA Founding President”Purushotham Reddy Gaddam – “TDF Board/The Nizamabad Organization”Comments are limited to 200 words or less.Vivek Koshy wrote on March 12, 2007 10:13 AM:“It is sad that the guy did what he did.. Don’t you realise that the only person who’d threaten with powdered sugar and a fake bomb is someone who is sick.. Not all people are same.. Grad students esp are people under high stress and hence the odd one can snap and loose control of his mind. We should leave his fate to the justice system and hope he gets a chance to go home and be normal. I think Universities can probably get it mandated that “all students” are checked atleast annually for good mental health. These students are our future. Who can claim to be a true American? No one except the aborigines. Everyone else is a migrant. I understand the fear people feel in
America but if we start treating all like potential terrorists and elevating issues we will lose trust in each other. Let’s all be mature about it.”chris wrote on March 12, 2007 7:16 AM:“Reading some of the comments here makes me agree that some of the folks in America’s
Deep South are as thick and racist as they are portrayed to be and that they thoroughly deserve the moron of a President they elected. I feel that this situation would have been handled differently in the Northeast of the
USA. It is quite clear that the guy was severely depressed and had a nervous breakdown. He deserves sympathy, a psychiatrist and deportation back home to his family.”
Cali girl wrote on March 10, 2007 2:37 PM:“So he was depressed cause he got a “B” and wanted to commit suicide by police so his family can sue the police?!?!?! Come on, send him the bill for all this, deport him and put him on the list not to let back in the country.”Rocketman wrote on March 09, 2007 7:26 AM:“Is “UMR STUDENT “trying be funny? He called the upset folks of Rolla racist, then called them Rednecks? isn’t that a type to sterotyping, very similar to racism, also he got away wiht using “Sand Monkey” RGM”his friend .. wrote on March 07, 2007 2:48 PM:“about him..his is an excellent student..if u wanna proof check this..he is a gold medalist http://deccancollege.ac.in/gg2005-2006.htm check this at any cost”Forigener Reader wrote on March 05, 2007 2:46 AM:“Many of the comments happens to be popping up from some readers butts as a lot of digestion problem about the
US facts. Come on friens grow up. Our economy is booming and these grads have major share to contribute. As far as Indian Student is concern, he should be treated fairlu under the breach of law. But surely he is NOT TERRORIST.”umrstudent wrote on March 04, 2007 10:58 AM:“”Some of you intolerant, racist townies disgust me. What would you say about this guy if he was American? You wouldn’t be calling him a terrorist, that’s for sure. He wouldn’t be a terrorist, he’d be a poor, depressed college kid who needs help. But, because of his country of origin, he’s something much, much worse according to your standards. And only a bunch of xenophobic rednecks like you would even believe that all foreign people are trying to kill us. Besides, this student was Indian. No Indian native has ever carried out an attack on
America, nor are they Islamic Jihadists because they’re not Islamic! Of course, I wouldn’t expect any of you to actually know that, you’re just a bunch of closed minded, uneducated hicks who think anyone who’s not a white, christian, republican American is out to kill you. I guess to you guys, anyone with brown skin is a terrorist sand monkey and something less than a human being. I say we send all of you over to
India and let you discover what it feels like to be an outsider.” “reader wrote on March 03, 2007 2:49 PM:“i do agree that foreign students should reduced in number or halted entirely due to saftey reasons not just from peoples of middle eastern or indian decent but all forginers as a saftey precaution and borders should be near as possable closed, a group of people could fairly easly smuggle neauclear devices from either border and what better place to let a wide spread neuclear device go off than the population center of america, an army base, and near the center point of 5 decent sized cities (branson springfeild jeff city ft. wood st. louis and columbia) not to say we would be the top of the list of targets but a well cordnated attack would be within a stones throwing distance”International Student wrote on March 03, 2007 1:00 AM:“This chap is sick. He is a terrorist. I dont know why people are making this an excuse to turn against international students. This is the first incident of this kind in the history of the entireUniversity of
Missouri campuses (s/m mostly occupied by international students.) I saw posts saying international students are paid medicare for free and are getting food stamps.. comeon dont write crap. AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT IS PAYING 3 TIMES THE FEES OF A LOCAL STUDENT EACH SEMESTER, If he is getting paid, that is only through the hard work he is doing for the professors. Just imagine what will be there in this Rolla, if this campus not exist. For God’s sake dont make this a base to bringout the racism (which will never go from you, what ever you do). This kid is mentally sick, Atleast he didn’t raped 2yr/3yr old kids and stip their skin off. Or he is not kidnapping kids..I am not supporting him. I AM JUST SAYING HE IS SICK.. AND I VALUE ROLLA COMMUNITY A LOT AND I ALWAYS FELT THEY ARE VERY HELPFUL. I BELIEVE THEY WILL SHOW THE SAME TOLERENCE IN THIS CASE.GODBLESS”
International Student wrote on March 03, 2007 12:56 AM:“This chap is sick. I dont think he is a terrorist. I dont know why people are making this an excuse to turn against international students. This is the first incident of this kind in the history of the entireUniversity of
Missouri campuses (s/m mostly occupied by international students.) I saw posts saying international students are paid medicare for free and are getting food stamps.. comeon dont write crap. AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT IS PAYING 3 TIMES THE FEES OF A LOCAL STUDENT EACH SEMESTER, If he is getting paid, that is only through the hard work he is doing for the professors. Just imagine what will be there in this Rolla, if this campus not exist. For God’s sake dont make this a base to bringout the racism (which will never go from you, what ever you do). This kid is mentally sick, Atleast he didn’t raped 2yr/3yr old kids and stip their skin off. Or he is not kidnapping kids..I am not supporting him. I AM JUST SAYING HE IS SICK.. AND I VALUE ROLLA COMMUNITY A LOT AND I ALWAYS FELT THEY ARE VERY HELPFUL. I BELIEVE THEY WILL SHOW THE SAME TOLERENCE IN THIS CASE.GODBLESS”International Student wrote on March 03, 2007 12:55 AM:“This chap is sick. I dont think he is a terrorist. I dont know why people are making this an excuse to turn against international students. This is the first incident of this kind in the history of the entireUniversity of
Missouri campuses (a system mostly occupied by international students.) I saw posts saying international students are paid medicare for free and are getting food stamps.. comeon dont write crap. AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT IS PAYING 3 TIMES THE FEES OF A LOCAL STUDENT EACH SEMESTER, If he is getting paid, that is only through the hard work he is doing for the professors. Just imagine what will be there in this Rolla, if this campus not exist. For God’s sake dont make this a base to bringout the racism (which will never go from you, what ever you do). This kid is mentally sick, Atleast he didn’t raped 2yr/3yr old kids and stip their skin off. Or he is not kidnapping kids..I am not supporting him. I AM JUST SAYING HE IS SICK.. AND I VALUE ROLLA COMMUNITY A LOT AND I ALWAYS FELT THEY ARE VERY HELPFUL. I BELIEVE THEY WILL SHOW THE SAME TOLERENCE IN THIS CASE.GODBLESS”
To Kte wrote on March 02, 2007 5:24 PM:“Firstly i agree that the student has messed up a whole lot of things by such a juvenile act. Terrorist attack and islamic jihads are too big a word to describe this. Secondly ‘these people’ are not using the American education system to strengthen thieir own countries abilities to use against US . Infact they are contributing towards the development of research and economy of the
US. I am a grad student and can affirmatively state that 90% of the research at every grad school is being done by international students. There are many ‘internationals’ working in various ferderal agencies at top notch positions having access to a lot of sensitive data. Had they had any intentions of using that data against your country the scenario would be a lot more worse. Its really harebrained on your part to make such a generalised comment on ‘internationals’ based on such a childish incident. Leave the guy alone n deport him back to his country.”Introspect wrote on March 02, 2007 4:26 PM:“More than anything else, what really makes me feel sorry for
America is the lack of education and awareness among its ‘masses’. Its a pity to see the youth of a nation skewed in its thought process with xenophobia and an atmosphere of ‘high-alert’ all the time. With the foreign policy that your govt has, I understand that is the natural fallout; but very few people actually make an effort to understand international societies and ways of life before making a smart-alec comment. If every layman HAS to comment, I would only suggest you to get an education and do so. Otherwise, for a sane and wise citizen of the world who might be listening to you, you would just be an ignoramus born in the world’s most developed country. Your country has worked hard to reach where it is, do not pull yourself down to deeper depths of ignorance. What’s more concerning than a young disillusioned mentally affected student is a vast population that ‘behaves’ the same way EVERYDAY. For an outsider like me, you both have the same mental problem. Thanks.”Indian Grad Student wrote on March 02, 2007 1:31 PM:“There are no terrorists from India,
India is a peaceful country, All this is done due to depression, I am not arguing that what he did is justifiable considering his state of mind, it did cause inconvinience and terror for the others. So by all means he may be sent back to
India where he may be treated for his state of mind and where he would also have a chance to be with his family, Keeping him jailed here will just worsen his depression and willingness to die. Thats what i feel, “umr alumni wrote on March 02, 2007 1:11 PM:“Dear MadDog, If the students were to be sent home after 10pm, then it would be a grade school, not a grad school. Do you know whow many hours you need to put in to complete your masters at Rolla, trust me its not a joke, 24 hour access to labs and buildings is a must.”wake up wrote on March 02, 2007 12:57 PM:“C’mon whats going on people, do not elevate this issue to international relationships. This is just an incident in a small city and nothing to do with wtc or osama! what he has done is wrong and should bear the consequence. I think this issue is getting more attention that is deserved!”Too Bad, So Sad wrote on March 02, 2007 10:28 AM:“To UMR Student who wrote, “Some of you intolerant, racist townies disgust me…” I realize it is a tense time in Rolla, but let me set you very straight on a few things. I am not only from Rolla, but I graduated from there AND I am female. Let me tell you about going to class and having a professer make comments about townies only being at UMR to get married, or about having the non-American TA and professor who won’t speak to me or answer my questions because they don’t think women belong at a university. Racist townie? You might want to re-think your ignorant comment. That moron might have been “stressed” but who the hell isn’t at UMR. He crossed the line and in a free and democratic country, there are consequences. It doesn’t matter where he came from – he made what was deemed legitimate terrorist threats and those threats were acted upon. “A Grad Student wrote on March 02, 2007 2:24 AM:“”It seems that he has done all this because mental depression .Its better to leave him and deport back to his country”.”overview wrote on March 02, 2007 2:01 AM:“the ‘international students’ and foreigners make a significant contribution to the american economy, not to mention the fact the dependence of usa on countries such as india and china to ‘power’ their economy. these are very well known facts among the political higher ups and whatever rhetoric they ‘spew’ to whip up the sentiments of the ‘easily led’ and ‘naive’ section of the american populace, it is rhetoric all the same and the real politik of the matter is
america has to co-operate with the world. an aloof and ‘we-are-not-dependent-on-anyone’ attidtude wil only hurt the ‘foolish’.as an aside let me mention the ‘fact’ that most of america has been built up by exterminating the local ‘indians’ and their customs and by white setlers.shd only a white man have the right to call himself a ‘settler’ or ‘imigrant’? not a ‘non’white’ or non christian ? the world has long borne-with the so called ‘tolerance’ of the ‘white christian’ and its time for them to have a real look within. the paranois that ‘they’ feel has a lot to do with what their ancestors have done in various parts of the world in the last 200 years.”anonymous wrote on March 02, 2007 12:41 AM:“For the record planes that hit twin towers had more than 40 % passengers as foreign nationals and more than 1000 foreign nationals were killed in the towers. Please don’t generalize all the foreigners as terrors.
US economy depends on them. I mean why are we making all these comments. The man was stupid to do such an act under depression. Court has to decide he was terrorist or not. Let us not take this as an opportunity to openly sleaze foreigners. Even the discussion forum should remove racist comments.”reader wrote on March 01, 2007 6:34 PM:“To the person who said that Sudith is indian, not muslim: Indians are also muslims. A lot Indians are Muslims”Fed up with stupid comments wrote on March 01, 2007 5:14 PM:“I find it very ironic that the people who are the most critical of others wanting to get an education and better themselves are the ones who are the least educated. Why can’t you just leave these poor kids alone? You’re lying when you say you’ve seen them with foodstamps and Medicaid — that’s simply not true. The fact is, nearly all of these kids will contribute more to the world than any of you; preaching hate and intolerance makes you look like a bunch of ignorant rednecks. If a terrorist wanted to come to the
US to terrorize our citizens, why in the world would they want to waste their time terrorizing Rolla?? I think they have better things to do. Please get your heads out of your butts and grow up.”Teri wrote on March 01, 2007 11:58 AM:“In response to LHG: To get food stamps and medicaid, a “foreigner” MUST be a
US CITIZEN. NONE of the visa types allow access to these services. (This comes from a little over 2 years experience with this). In addition, under 5% get any assistance with coming here. The rest have to prove they can pay well over $20,000 a year, and sometimes (depending on level of study) over $30,000. They are NOT able to just freeload. If they fall short of money, it’s a lengthy process for approval for them to get a job to help with the bills… but NOT welfare. I absolutely cannot believe the level of racism I’m reading here, and I’m ashamed to be from a town this shallow and uneducated.”umrstudent wrote on March 01, 2007 11:46 AM:“Some of you intolerant, racist townies disgust me. What would you say about this guy if he was American? You wouldn’t be calling him a terrorist, that’s for sure. He wouldn’t be a terrorist, he’d be a poor, depressed college kid who needs help. But, because of his country of origin, he’s something much, much worse according to your standards. And only a bunch of xenophobic rednecks like you would even believe that all foreign people are trying to kill us. Besides, this student was Indian. No Indian native has ever carried out an attack on
America, nor are they Islamic Jihadists because they’re not Islamic! Of course, I wouldn’t expect any of you to actually know that, you’re just a bunch of closed minded, uneducated hicks who think anyone who’s not a white, christian, republican American is out to kill you. I guess to you guys, anyone with brown skin is a terrorist sand monkey and something less than a human being. I say we send all of you over to
India and let you discover what it feels like to be an outsider.”silvia wolff wrote on March 01, 2007 11:39 AM:“to Marine Wife, International students support the education for others in this country. They do NOT get it for free! Get your information right before writing such a ridiculous letter. There sure is a lot of hate and fear in many letters. That’s a shame. The KKK must still be very active in our country…….A bit of repentance by the haters would go a long way. “2007 and still pathetic wrote on March 01, 2007 9:18 AM:“Some of these comments are so ignorant. First, if you are afraid of terrorists, you have let people like Osama bin Laden win. A terrorist doesn’t kill for any other purpose than to make people afraid. That is why they are called “terrorists”. Second, this had NOTHING to do with terrorism. I have lived here all my life and attended a local school. We had bomb threats all the time by students who were just blowing off some steam. Third, this man had some emotional problems and was looking for a way to get out of them. He had no bomb and no Anthrax. He was merely hoping a cop would shoot him and end his life. If he wasn’t Indian, everyone would want to help him. Fourth, the people around here need to learn about countries other than the
US. Poor history and geography skills are no excuse. Fifth, most people in the
United States are immigrants from another country. Unless you are Native American, you are an immigrant. So get over it! Stop generalizing that people in other countries are more violent than us. The
US is the one that is invading other countries and starting wars.”us citizen wrote on March 01, 2007 7:37 AM:“i can’t believe the tolerance most people feel towards these foreign students, i wonder if this is the same tolerance that was shown to the 9-11 pilots that were taught to fly in this country. wake up!, when they blow us off the face of the earth i hope the tolerant few are the first ones to go! see ya”lhg wrote on March 01, 2007 6:58 AM:“was anyone suprised this was a foreign student? i think it is assanine that the usa will let these foreign students come to our country and get an education that they can’t get anywhere else and terrorize our community, why don’t they ship them all back where they came from, if you took a poll from them they probably think we are stupid for allowing such bs, as for their education being paid for i don’t know but i have seen them myself in the grocery store with food stamps and some of them do get medicaid, thats just crazy when some of our own deserving citizens can’t get that kind of help, i say send them all back with a box of powered sugar”Just a thought wrote on March 01, 2007 4:25 AM:“This is a time of WAR people! Who is to say he was just distraught over his grades? Call me whatever you like…but in a time of WAR our counrty should be pulling ALL student Visas. I know all foreign students aren’t bad, but how are we supposed top keep out terrorists if we won’t even shut down the borders during war time? Our government needs to put more money into helping our own youth get a good education and worry less about helping other the youth of other countries with thiers. Lets all remember…Osama Bin Laden had a fine
US education, and look what he did with it!”A Grad Student wrote on March 01, 2007 3:17 AM:“the poor guy needs help, hope the government will consider his case, forgive him and deport him to his country.”UMR ALUMNI wrote on March 01, 2007 1:05 AM:“I understand that there is alot of stress that is taken on when an international student enters the
US for his education. Things such as being away from home, the new culture, new language, new atmosphere…but you don’t see an american student entering another country for his education and performing such an act. I think everyone needs to start looking at it in the opposite direction and consider the fact that we (AMERICANS born and raised) are not going to other countries and threatening the lives of an entire community. So what if he was stressed, there are plenty of services through UMR that allow a student to discuss their problems and get help. I’m not going to be sympathetic to this kid..he threatened the lives of other individuals, he needs to deal with the consequences. I say deal with it!”umrstudent wrote on March 01, 2007 12:25 AM:“For starters, to the guy who called this student an Islamic Jihadist, this student is Indian. Not Muslim. Big difference. Then again, outside of campus, very few people in this town seem to be educated on any race besides Caucasian and any religion besides christianity. To the others who said we shouldn’t allow international students…there are about 1,000 of them. That’s a lot. Not only do they help keep tuition prices lower for all of us, they help provide jobs to the Rolla community. If we had 1,000 fewer students, we’d need fewer secretaries, physfac personel, etc. This applies to the general animosity I notice towards all students in the town, but especially these guys. If it wasn’t for us, Rolla would be nothing. Lastly, what would you all be saying if this was a white American? I somehow doubt you all would say the despicable, racist things I’ve seen in comments thus far. An American who did this wouldn’t be an “Islamic jihadist”, he wouldn’t be sent home. He’d be considered a poor soul suffering from an episode of major depression. But because this guy’s skin color and native country are different, he gets labeled something much, much worse.”Townie girl wrote on February 28, 2007 11:12 PM:“What you might want to try reporting on is how faculty and staffed who stayed home (as per the directions given by officers on the scene, and local tv/radio news coverage) are being forced to use vacation time if they want to be paid for that day. Additionally, emails by certain professors were sent out that if students didn’t show up for class/quizzes, they would be failed. Nice leadership on the part of the chancellor ….”Teri wrote on February 28, 2007 9:42 PM:“In response to KTE: You should check your facts before you try to scare the public. I worked for the International Affairs office at UMR before becoming disabled about 2 years ago. Rolla has a population of over 14,000 (more since the last census, but that’s the last solid number I recall). When at UMR, we had under 1000 foreign students. They accounted for a little under 1/5 of the student population at UMR alone, and most of them were some of the kindest, considerate, caring, and giving individuals I have ever met. Many put American morals to shame. The sterotype you are trying to place on all foreigners as a whole clearly demonstrates that you are not educated on this matter.”To bad, so sad… wrote on February 28, 2007 9:38 PM:“Anyone who goes to UMR for a real education pays the price to do so. It is not easy. It is competitive and if someone doesn’t like you, they can make your life hell. This guy went too far, but there are many out there who feel that level of pressure and are just as capable of snapping if pushed too far. I was back on campus a few years ago and was sadly disappointed by the rude and disrespectful attidude towards the students and graduates by current employees. Funny how these people were willing to work for and accept money to work there but had such disrespect for those who had actually worked through the ranks, so to speak. My two cents – you created the mess – so have at it and clean it up! Have fun with this one!”NASA nut wrote on February 28, 2007 9:19 PM:“If one of our highly-trained and prepped NASA astronauts can flip out (the female who took the road trip to kill the other girl), is it so surprising that a young man in a strange land can also flip out? Mental illness is exactly that – an illness. This was not a terrorist plot. Be real and say a prayer for this young man. He is in a lot of trouble. Solid story and photos, Jamie!”To Marine Wife wrote on February 28, 2007 8:31 PM:“No one comes to the
U.S. and goes to school for free, the most they get is federal funding. You moron. We do not give them any right for free college. Wtf!!? He didnt turn around and make a threat because of that either. Monitoring “them” being, anyone that is let in the the
U.S. because you are afraid of their stereotypical appearance of a terrorist, would be racist and a foolish waste of money. The main problem is that no one bothered to end this “threat” before it happened, althought the rolla police did i great job, they shouldnt ever have to do their job.(in a perfect world) The sad part is very few people understand his problem in the first place. Failing in school to foreign students can mean failing in life, or death, through being sent back to their country for not succeeding. Most of you dont understand the importantnce of grades to some cultures. (in japan, there is a very high suicide rate because if you fail highschool, or college, you litteraly cant get decent job, and the next best thing to most of the failed students is death)people of rolla wisen up, stop being racist”Jason wrote on February 28, 2007 7:32 PM:“Man I am glad I left UMR, yeah its a good education, but its not worth all the crap you have to deal with! 2 B’s, come on, why is every kid there so worried about getting a B, its nuts…”J.Mc. wrote on February 28, 2007 6:10 PM:” I believeUniversity of
Missouri – Rolla got a wake up call, as did other universities, about student depression. A student’s mental health impacts their academic success and, as we have seen, homeland security. It’s very unfortunate that this incident occurred and it involved an international student. All students are under a lot of pressure to perform well academically and manage their social life and health. My saying this doesn’t justify or condone this student’s behavior. My concern is in the area of mental health. Most universities do provide academic, counseling and health services, and mentoring programs for their diverse student population. It’s important that quality culturally relevant and appropriate counseling services and other academic support services are accessed and utilized by university students. It is my hope that UMR and other universities take a closer look at mental health as a student life issue and how the campus community can respond to and support all students in their academic endeavors before they reach a point of depression that leads to multiple felony charges and loss of future intellectual capital. “umr student wrote on February 28, 2007 6:03 PM:“I think that everyone who is saying that we should send all of the foreign students back home is ridiculous. These student came here for the opportunities that the
US can offer them education-wise. All of them are on student visa or something of the like. It’s not there fault one messed up person did this. Also, it could very well have been an american student! I do believe however that this man should be tried and if convicted, deported. I’ve heard other people say that he should be held in a psychiatric facility, but WHY? He’s not a
US citizen, and obviously no longer a productive member of the community, he should be sent back to his home country.”Citizen wrote on February 28, 2007 5:45 PM:“Kudos to all the emergency services who responded. I noticed even the Phelps County Jail Crew was out directing traffic. It is wonderful how all these differeny agencies banded together. My only problem, wasn’t this a UMR problem. Why didn’t the UMR Police Chief run the show. Did he relinquish his authority to the Rolla Chief? Reguardless of this, they ended up with the best man in charge. Mayor Jenks – I think he proved himself enough to remove the “interim” from the title. If Rolla elected their chief like some other cities do, I’d vote for “Kearse For Chief””Jake wrote on February 28, 2007 5:44 PM:“You cannot comment on internationals based on one particular individual. Does anyone talk about local people who are stressed and do such things.”UMR Grad Student wrote on February 28, 2007 5:40 PM:“I am a Civil Engineering Graduate student at UMR. It is not fair for people to start directing fault towards international students in general. I have classes and share an office with several Indian students, and they are all extremely nice and polite. In fact, most of them are nicer than a lot of the American students I know. I am by no means excusing the guys actions, and I am by no means saying that just because a person is nice doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of doing something stupid. He messed up and should be punished, but it could have just as easily been an American student. Remember
Oklahoma City….the Unibomber…. All I’m saying is don’t let the actions of one international student ruin the reputation of all international students at UMR. “International Student wrote on February 28, 2007 5:17 PM:“It is not fair to make a judgement based on one man’s actions. Yes he was depressed and yes he took it way too far. But none of you americans know what it is to be truly alone in another country just for the hope that we can make a better person of ourselves for us and for our families. Our countries simply dont have the opportunities and the level of education we require to succeed in life. So you’re judging us because we want to be better?? because we want a future?? just because of one man’s action, not fair. It is really hard for us already with the racism in this country, but we also have to deal with the new culture, the stress of classes, but think about it, we have noone to go to during the holidays…no family to spend thanksgiving with, most of us are not even allowed to work in this country while we go to school, so it’s not like we can have something else to put our minds into… think about that, please. I am really sorry for that guy, because he must have felt so bad he thought he had no other way out.”MadDog wrote on February 28, 2007 4:57 PM:“Was there really a teacher and students in the building at 2:00 am? What is up with that? Maybe we need to look at securing our buildings at 10:00 pm and getting our kids home at reasonable hours, not that that will happen, it is just a thought!”Anon wrote on February 28, 2007 4:04 PM:“I don’t believe that all of the international students should leave UMR. This school would not and probably COULD not exist without these amazing students here with everyone. This could have been anyone, just because he is an international student, everyone is up in arms. What would have happened if it had been someone who grew up in Rolla or a similar spot. People would say that this kid just had a breakdown and was distraught and there would be no issue of “needing to check up on everyone” or moving the people “not from our country” back to their homelands. They don’t get the opportunity to study at home the way they do here. They deserve our respect and as much freedom as any other college student. I believe this has become an issue of racism and not a reaction to the real issue.”Proud of Rolla wrote on February 28, 2007 3:42 PM:“Again, I am very proud of our community and how it reacted to a potentially disasterous situation. The common sense to use non-lethal weapons (and avoided an international catrastrophy), properly assessing the situation without panicking the entire community, and illustrating how public services can truly work as a team. A lot of people deserve a pat on the back. The mayor, police chief, chancellor and others were true professionials as the nation and world took a quick peek at
Rolla, Missouri. All of the Rolla Leadership groups truly shined. I am very proud to be from Rolla.”Jason wrote on February 28, 2007 2:56 PM:“This guy is sick in mind. He should have gone for professional help.”Adam West wrote on February 28, 2007 1:42 PM:“Congrats to all the law inforcement personel for taking this seriously and taking the appropriate actions to resolve it. These instances of Jihad are happening all over the country. Maybe the University needs to take a closer look at the “internationals” as they so fondly call them and see exactly how many are actually islamist extremists.”huh? wrote on February 28, 2007 1:33 PM:“People, what does any of that have to do with the situation here in Rolla?”DWH wrote on February 28, 2007 12:32 PM:“There is no larger political view of this. It was a very disturbed young man acting out. It is a shame he did not get help before it came to this but the whole thing is a failed suicide attempt. Not much different than the guy that put his head on the rail of the tracks that go through downtown when I was in school.”Janese wrote on February 28, 2007 12:00 PM:“Good story, Jaime”Concerned wrote on February 28, 2007 11:58 AM:“Once and for all let’s please send the foreign students home and let them get their education at home!”MarineWife wrote on February 28, 2007 11:21 AM:“I don’t think that the foreign students should have as much freedom at a
US College. They get to come into our country and go to school for free…we give them that right and then they turn around and make a threat like this? Not all of them are bad, but most should be carefully watched and monitored more frequently when coming into the
US for school.”khan wrote on February 28, 2007 11:18 AM:“A very fine job by Rolla Police Department and other agencies who helped in this situation,well done and no blame game.good job.”Dave wrote on February 28, 2007 11:03 AM:“Anthrax is not something to be casual about. The city of
Rolla should have done more to caution citizens down-wind of UMR.”Marie wrote on February 28, 2007 10:38 AM:“Awesome story by Jaime. All the organizations did an outstanding job to take care of the students and residents of Rolla. We all feel very safe. Keep up the great job Jaime.”UMR_Grad wrote on February 28, 2007 10:34 AM:“Man, he did this for getting two “B’s”…. imagine what he would have done with a “C”….. lighten up!”My 2 cents wrote on February 28, 2007 10:29 AM:“Why do we have this individual in custody and have a bond set so low? Why hasn’t he already been turned over to the Justice department for his trip toGuantanamo
Bay? I hope we are very careful and don’t get caught up in legal technicalities. The Patriot act is here for a reason, let’s use it and send him to GITMO.”
joe blow wrote on February 28, 2007 10:15 AM:“Give the kid a one way ticket back to
India and save our court system a lot of time and money.”kte wrote on February 28, 2007 9:48 AM:“wake up phelps county,during the school year we have more foreign students in rolla than us citizens. This stunt should show just how vulnerable we really are. I give alot of praise to all the law enforcement and other agencies involved in handling this situation, but to be honest if this had been a real terrorist attact do you think they would have gotten a phone BEFORE the excitement really started. This time it was a distraught student, next time it could be something much more, Personally I think these people should go back to their own countries and stop using our education system to strengthen their own countries abilities to use against us when they so decide to”truther wrote on February 28, 2007 8:14 AM:“That’s right,
Md. Everyone knows by now that Cheney was actually IN wtc 7 with his finger on the button, waiting for the press to announce the collapse of a building that had clearly not collapsed. How dumb do they think we are??? Airliners could not take down buildings while busHitler was trying to read a book and secretly sneaking his rich arab oil-buddies out of the country so that no one would know that the mossad actually flew missiles into the buildings!!!”Md wrote on February 28, 2007 6:10 AM:“It’s a sad state of affairs when your country is in such a hightend frenzy of media manipulated fear so much would be expended for so little. On a 9/11 side note, new footage has surfaced of the BBC reorting WTC 7 had collapsed over 20 minutes before it actually had. The clip shows a live feed of the reporter standing in front of the
New York skyline reporting WTC 7 had collapsed. Theres just one problem Building 7 is clearly visible STILL STANDING over her right shoulder, the camera even zooms in! WWW.INFOWARS.COM”Anna M Websterwrote on February 28, 2007 12:11 AM:“I think everyone here in the
united states are welcome. But some don’t get the chance,He got. To make a diffrance in there life. I think he took it way out of control” The reality of terrorism was brought home to Rolla Tuesday morning when a distraught University of Missouri-Rolla student threatened the community with words that have shaken big cities across the nation.Bomb. Anthrax.
Law enforcement officials responding well before daylight quickly had the situation under control, the community safe and the perpetrator, an apparently overwrought University of Missouri-Rolla student from
India, in jail on a $250,000 bond and facing six felony charges, including one for making terrorist threats.
Sujith Venkatramolla, a 22-year-old graduate student, was arrested shortly after officers from the University of Missouri-Rolla and the Rolla Police Department arrived at the Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Building around 2:30 a.m. The incident started when Venkatramolla brandished a knife and showed a bag he said contained a bomb. He also claimed to have anthrax. At that point he was subdued with a taser gun and taken into custody.The incident focused nationwide attention on Rolla when metro area TV crews began arriving from St. Louis and
Springfield, and reporters from The New York Times and CNN started calling for details.
By the end of the day it was clear the bomb threat and the anthrax scare were bogus, part of an elaborate attempt at a police-assisted suicide. There was no bomb located in the Civil Engineering Building and the substance thought to be anthrax was powdered sugar. Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney Courtney George had filed six felony charges against Venkatramolla. In addition to the count of making terrorist threats, he was charged with three counts of first degree assault on a law enforcement officer, one count of resisting arrest and one count of making a false bomb.
University of Missouri-Rolla Chancellor John F. Carney III said even though it turned out to be a false alarm, he’s glad no chances were taken.“A lot of people were inconvenienced, but when you look at what might have happened, we did what we had to do,” he said.
A Terrorist Threat?
The incident started at approximately 2:32 a.m. Tuesday when the University of Missouri-Rolla Police Department received a call regarding a University of Missouri-Rolla student who was threatening terrorist-type actions in the Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Building. The call may have come from the suspect who was trying to disguise his voice as a woman’s, according to law enforcement officials. The University of Missouri-Rolla Police Department called the Rolla Police Department for backup and the two agencies responded to the scene.“When we confronted the student he pulled a knife, held up a bag and said there was a bomb in it,” Capt. Mark Kearse, interim police chief of the Rolla Police Department, said at an 8:30 a.m. press conference Tuesday morning at City Hall.
Police officers tased Ventrakamolla and then arrested him. After being taken into custody, he was decontaminated, evaluated at the
Center and then taken back to the Rolla Police Department for more questioning.
In addition to the bomb, the suspect also said he had anthrax. A white powdery substance was found on the suspect and near a desk in one of the rooms of the Civil Engineering Building. A two-to-four page note was also found. Kearse could not release all the details of the note, but said it contained information about Venkatramolla’s various “missions.”“Today’s [Tuesday] mission was to destroy the Civil Engineering Building,” Kearse said.
Kearse would not give specifics about the other “missions,” but said that “suicide by cops” was mentioned in the note.
The other 22 people who were in the building at the time of the incident were evacuated, and Rolla activated its
Center to help respond to the situation. A decontamination unit was set up on
for possibledecontamination of the 22 individuals, which included
Missouri-Rolla students and a professor, law enforcement officials, a civilian and staff members from thePhelps
Those individuals were quarantined in the
Building on campus, but decontamination procedures were unnecessary once the Missouri National Guard Seventh Civil Support Team determined the white substance was powdered sugar and posed no threat to anyone’s health. The individuals were released late Tuesday afternoon.
A Call For Help
More than 12 agencies — federal and state — were called on for their expertise. The FBI, Missouri National Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Fort Leonard Wood Explosives Operations Division, Rolla Homeland Security Response Team, Rolla HazMat Team, Rolla Fire Department Weapons of Mass Destruction Team, Rolla Fire and Rescue, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Phelps County Regional Medical Center, Phelps/Maries County Health Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and others were called to the scene to assist.Teams were first sent into the Civil Engineering Building to look for a possible bomb. Later, the white powdery substance would be analyzed. The air flow in the building was shut off as a precaution until the substance was identified. The
Center prepared for a mass-casualty event.
“We have to first make sure there isn’t a bomb and then we can figure out what the white substance is,” Kearse said at the 8:30 a.m. press conference. Law enforcement officers and drug dogs swept the building several times to make sure there wasn’t a bomb, which took the majority of the day. Lt. Col. David Boyle, commander of the Missouri National Guard Seventh Civil Support Team, and the Rolla HazMat Team were involved in checking the premises for bombs and identifying any hazardous materials. The powdery substance was tested on-site and also sent to the Missouri State Health Laboratory.
The roads near the Civil Engineering Building, including 12th to 16th streets along
Road and St. Pat’s Road, were blocked off with detour signs. Classes at the university were first canceled until 10 a.m., but canceled for the entire day when it became clear the situation wouldn’t be resolved until much later in the afternoon.
Although there was still a lot of work to be done and several questions without answers, at about 9 a.m. Kearse assured people in the Rolla community that they were safe and the situation was under control. By 3 p.m. the bomb threat had been officially dismissed by the Fort Leonard Wood Explosive Operations Division.
“We have determined that this is not a terrorist attack and we have everything under control,” he said.
The Investigation BeginsLooking for answers and more information, law enforcement officials questioned Venkatramolla’s roommates who were living with him in an off-campus apartment. Although his roommates were interviewed, police believe Venkatramolla, who they describe as a “distraught and depressed student,” was acting alone.
“We believe these are the actions of one individual with a personal vendetta,” Kearse said. “The suspect has given us several different stories, but it is our belief [at this time] that he has been distraught over school work. This particular individual was apparently under a lot of stress and was depressed.”
Venkatramolla was supposedly upset after receiving the first two ‘B’ grades he’d ever gotten and falling behind in his classes due to illness, according to a source who wished to remain anonymous.Although it’s still not clear what Venkatramolla was doing in the Civil Engineering Building at 2:30 a.m., graduate students and professors have access to the building 24 hours a day with the use of their I.D. cards. It’s common to find students studying there and using the building’s computer labs late at night or very early in the morning.
University of Missouri-Rolla students were shocked to learn the university was shut down due to a bomb threat when they woke up Tuesday morning. Prasenjit Shil, who is pursuing his doctorate degree in engineering management, couldn’t get to his apartment located across from the Civil Engineering Building when he was coming back into town from
St. Louis yesterday morning.
“At first I thought they were just doing some sort of road construction,” he said. “But then somebody said we weren’t having classes because of a bomb scare. I think it’s really strange.”
And shocking, according to University of Missouri-Rolla student Pradeep Tipaji.
“When I heard the news I thought, ‘Oh my god, there’s a bomb?! Where is the bomb?!’” he said. “I guess you just never know what’s going to happen.”
Although they’re international students, Shil and Tipaji aren’t too concerned about facing a negative backlash from the community.
“I’ve been in Rolla for five years and Rolla has been very welcoming to international students,” Shil said. “I don’t think the actions of this student will reflect negatively on the whole international community. Life will go on.”
Even so, other students are still concerned.
“We’re all under a lot of stress and we all have hard classes, but I can’t believe somebody would actually do that,” student Adam Ryley said. “No matter how much stress you’re under you can’t do something like that and get away with it. It makes me concerned that the school isn’t checking on students as much as they should be.”
Covering All The Bases
Although the bomb threat and the anthrax scare turned out to be false by day’s end, Rolla Mayor William S. Jenks III reiterated the importance of taking the necessary precautions and “covering all the bases.”
“Our first priority is the safety of the students and the people in the community,” Jenks said. “In a post 9/11 world, we just can’t take any chances. We have to err on the side of caution. I commend Captain Kearse and all the other law enforcement agencies who have been involved. This operation has gone very well.”
Kearse added his own thanks and appreciation to all those involved in the operation.
“All the agencies worked together diligently to get this issue resolved,” he said, naming more than a dozen agencies that responded to the incident. “The level of cooperation on this has been outstanding. I’m very proud of everyone involved. We just couldn’t take a chance on this. We had to take a cautious approach.”
Kearse said even though it took quite some time to resolve the issue, it was worth it.
“It was a great training day for us,” he said. “We can’t anticipate everything, but we are as well trained as we can be.”
“I’m glad no one was injured, but I’m sorry that it happened,” he said at a 2:30 p.m. press conference. “I wish it had not happened, but we learned a lot and now we’ll be even better prepared for something that hopefully won’t happen in the future.”
For law enforcement officials, the investigation continues. For
Missouri-Rolla students, faculty and staff, it’s back to school and business as usual today.