Suspect in Custody But Not Yet Charged In Elderly Fijian Woman’s Killing

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RICHMOND – A 21-year-old prowler is expected to be charged this week in the Aug. 26 shooting death of an elderly Fijian woman, who was visiting her son at his Richmond, Calif. home. Sushila Prasad, 67, was gunned down early morning in the home of her son Dinesh Kumar, 46, who was also seriously injured in the shooting. The lone suspect in the case, Gerardo Canon Jr., who is in police custody but has not yet been charged in the crime, allegedly broke into the Kumar’s home at 3:22 a.m. with the intent of burglarizing the residence, Richmond police detective Nicole Abetkov told India-West. “It appears that Dinesh may have stumbled upon the intruder,” said Abetkov, adding that it was unclear whether Kumar or Prasad received the first shots.

Prasad received several shots to her midsection and died immediately. Kumar, the father of two teenagers, received four shots in the hip and through his abdomen and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Canon reportedly took off on foot and a getaway vehicle took off behind him. Police quickly arrested him sitting in the getaway vehicle and interviewed him about the crime.

Police are waiting for crime lab analysis reports before charging Canon with the shootings and home invasion. Crime scene investigators picked up hundreds of pieces of evidence, including ballistics, bullet casings and fingerprints, said Abetkov. A report is expected to be completed this week, she said, adding that the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office will then decide how to proceed with the case. Though California law mandates that suspects be charged within 72 hours, Canon has been held since the shootings as he is in violation of his parole for an earlier crime.

Abetkov would not say what Canon had served time for. But an archives news search revealed that a Gerardo Canon, who may be affiliated with the Oakdale Mob gang based in San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood, was arrested Aug. 1, 2008 for carrying a concealed weapon in a drive-by shooting incident involving six other suspects.

“(Kumar’s) kids are completely heartbroken and having nightmares,” said Abetkov, adding that the neighborhood is generally a quiet one with very little incidence of crime.

Kumar could not be reached for comment. But in an interview with the Richmond Confidential, the Berkeley High School janitor said Prasad had raised her family on a vegetable farm near Ba, in Fiji. Prasad had a strong work ethic and arose early morning every day to milk the cow and prepare the family’s breakfast.

Prasad’s body was returned to Fiji shortly after her death. A memorial service in her honor was held locally and attended by more than 500 people. The Fiji Association of North America will host a fundraiser for the Kumar family on Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m. at the Golden Peacock restaurant in Hayward, Calif.

Davendra Kumar, president of FANA, told India-West that the family has been traumatized very badly by the shootings. Kumar finally left the hospital on Sept. 8 but he is unable to walk and must use a wheelchair. He is currently undergoing physical therapy, said Davendra Kumar, who is not related to Dinesh. Kumar is married to Saroj Devi; the couple have two children, ages 12 and 14, whose names this paper is not revealing to protect their privacy.

Berkeley High School, where Kumar works as a janitor, also held a fundraiser for the family as did the North and East Council neighborhood association. A bank account called “The Kumar Family Benefit” has been set up at Mechanics Bank, which has several offices throughout the East Bay.

The Kumars migrated to the U.S. seven years ago, and bought their Richmond home in 2009.