A pharmaceutical executive’s lucky night at a Pennsylvania casino ended in tragedy when he was shot and killed inside his New Jersey home by a stranger who trailed him home from the gambling hall, authorities said.
Jekai Reid-John has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the slaying of Sree Aravapalli, 54, who was killed on Tuesday after a night of big wins reportedly topping $10,000 at the Parx Casino outside of Philadelphia.
In a news release announcing the charge, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said this week that 27-year-old Reid-John “targeted Aravapalli in Pennsylvania and followed him home to his Plainsboro residence,” killing him during an attempted robbery.
When Aravapalli climbed into his car to head home from the casino with his winnings, Reid hopped into his car and began his deadly pursuit, following him for roughly 50 miles to Aravapalli’s home, authorities said.
Detectives said that surveillance footage from a farmstand shows the suspect’s car trailing closely behind Aravapalli’s vehicle early Tuesday. According to the footage, reported by WNBC, just one of the cars can be seen making the return journey back to Pennsylvania.
Authorities said that Reid-John broke into the residence through a sliding door at the rear of the house, which has since been boarded up, and then shot Aravapalli several times just after 3 a.m, as his wife and daughter slept upstairs.
Police responded to a report of shots fired at 3:38 a.m., and discovered that Aravapalli had “sustained multiple gunshot wounds.” He was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital.
“It’s crazy,” Sheeza Khan, Aravapalli’s neighbor, told KYW-TV. “I mean, unbelievable. Like how can somebody follow him all the way, and come here and kill him in the night? It’s so shocking.”
Reid-John was taken into police custody in Pennsylvania ahead of an extradition hearing to be brought back to New Jersey pending a pre-trial detention hearing, prosecutors said.
“We are deeply saddened by the report that earlier this week a customer of Parx Casino was the victim of a homicide at his home after returning from a visit to the casino,” Parx CEO Eric Hausler wrote in a statement, confirming Aravapalli had been a customer at the casino the night he was murdered. “Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim at this incredibly difficult time.”