A father of two was killed after police believe he was followed for 50 miles from a Pennsylvania casino to his home in New Jersey, where he was shot with his wife and teenage daughter sleeping just steps away.
It all began in the early morning hours on Tuesday at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, just north of Philadelphia. Sree Aravapalli was spotted cashing some $10,000 or so in winnings before heading to his home in Plainsboro.
Police said that 27-year-old Jekai John Reid didn't know Aravapalli, but watched him take off with his winnings. Reid then followed the pharmaceutical executive for 50 miles to the affluent neighborhood where he lived.
A camera at a nearby farmstand caught two cars passing by early Tuesday morning, with the suspect close behind the 54-year-old executive, police said. The cars arrived at Aravapalli's house just after 3 a.m.
The victim was still downstairs when Reid allegedly broke in through a back sliding door, which was covered with plywood on Thursday. Aravapalli's wife and daughter were asleep upstairs as gunshots rang out soon after, and a neighbor said a car racing away could be heard racing away.
Aravapalli was shot and killed during the robbery. Moments later, the farmstand camera captured just one car heading back to Pennsylvania, police said.
Reid was arrested in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, the same day mourners gathered at a mausoleum in South Brunswick. At a cemetery service in the afternoon, Aravapalli was a popular member of the community, and his death serving as a warning to others.
"In the daytime, you can at least figure out that somebody is following you. But at night, no, never," said Vivek Taneja. "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."
Reid will be extradited to face trial in New Jersey.