ALLEN, Texas – Family members from India are working to recover the body of Aishwarya Thatikonda after she was shot and killed at Allen Premium Outlets over the weekend.
The 26-year-old was visiting the shops with a friend ahead of her birthday later this month.
Family representative Ashok Kolla spent all Sunday looking for Thatikonda after her housemates became concerned she would not come home and her phone was switched off.
“The whole Indian community came forward. They were like, let’s go check in hospitals, let’s go check, you know, if it’s with some friends, we’ve explored all the options,” Kolla said.
Eventually, they checked the Collin County coroner’s office and found her.
“This is not something anyone dreamed up,” Kolla said. “We don’t want to hear the sad news, but unfortunately that’s the case.”
Kolla then had to make the heartbreaking phone call to Thatikonda’s parents in India.
He is now working to help transport his body overseas.
Thatikonda came to the United States for college, attending Eastern Michigan University. After graduation, she moved to Texas. Thatikonda lived in McKinney and worked as an engineer for a company in Frisco.
Kolla says Thatikonda came to the US for a better education and a better life.
“The family stays thousands of miles from here, and she came here for a better dream,” he said. “Coming to the United States is a dream come true for many of our international students who think we will have a bright future.”
Kolla says he is in contact with Thatikonda’s mother, who is waiting halfway around the world to see her daughter one last time.
“Painful. It’s all over the media now. Until it gets there, it’s just counting the days, right? It’s painful,” she said.
Thatikonda leaves behind her parents and brother in India.
Eastern Michigan University released a statement about Thatikonda’s death on Monday.
“We were deeply saddened to learn this morning that an Eastern Michigan University graduate, Aishwarya Thatikonda, was among those killed in Saturday’s shooting at a shopping mall outside Dallas, Texas. Aishwarya graduated from Eastern in December 2020 with a Master of Science in Construction Management. According to published reports, Aishwarya was working as a project engineer with a Texas-based construction firm and went to the mall with a friend for shopping before her 28th birthday. Since as the nation once again faces a senseless act of gun violence, we share our condolences with Aishwarya’s family and friends. She will forever be remembered as a strong Eastern Michigan University Eagle,” the statement read.
The friend Thatikonda was with was also injured in the shooting. He is currently in the hospital.
India’s consulate general in Houston says it is completing the formalities to transport Thatikonda’s remains.
CGI says two other Indian nationals were injured in the shooting.