A 26-year-old woman from India was among the nine people shot dead by a gunman in Texas on Sunday.
Aishwarya Thatikonda was working as a project manager with a private company in Dallas and was out shopping at a mall with her fiance when the man opened fire at a crowd.
Thatikonda was a resident of Hyderabad and a daughter of a district judge.
“She’s a lot more than an employee. No less than a daughter,” said Srinivas Chaluvadi, owner of Perfect General Contractors in Frisco.
Flowers from friends and colleagues covered her desk at work, which she would have been sitting at on Monday morning.
Chaluvadi told NBC 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth that he hired Thatikonda more than two-and-half-years ago after she finished her master’s in civil engineering in the U.S. She managed construction projects at the company and was very good at her job.
Chaluvadi added, “She is loved, respected, and adored by at least 150 people that I can count. She works very closely with the city staff in the town of Little Elm, the City of Frisco, the town of Aubrey, and all the towns and cities where we work. She’s the one who handles the staff requests for documentation inspections and she knows everyone and everyone knows her by name.”
Chaluvadi said on Saturday he was returning to Dallas-Fort Worth after visiting his mother in Pittsburgh. He spoke with Thatikonda in the morning in regard to a project site and meeting up with an architect at 5 p.m. He said when his plane landed, he received a call from the architect who said Thatikonda was not there, which was not like her.
“We did not suspect anything at the time,” said Chaluvadi. Then he remembered Thatikonda was going to the outlets to buy an outfit for her 27th birthday, which was coming up on May 18.
“It suddenly struck into my mind that she must have gone to the shopping mall to make some purchases.” Chaluvadi added, “The Medical Examiner’s Office told us that the FBI had to come in and do fingerprint matching to be able to confirm the identity of the deceased person… It was a long 24-hour wait for us to know the worst part.”
Chaluvadi who is close with the family and spoke with Thatikonda’s parents said they are trying to ‘expeditiously’ ship the 26-year-old’s body back home to India.