23-year-old Indian Student From Andhra Pradesh Killed by Police Cruiser in Seattle Cross Walk
- Jaahnavi Kandula, who was studying at Northeastern University’s Seattle campus, was set to graduate in December from the College of Engineering.
An Indian student studying at Northeastern University’s Seattle campus was struck and killed by a police cruiser as she crossed the street in a crosswalk last week. Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, died after she sustained critical injuries when she was struck on Jan. 23 in the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood by a marked patrol vehicle. She was set to graduate in December from the College of Engineering.
New reports said Kandula was walking in the crosswalk from east to west when she was struck by the officer, who the department said was responding to a “priority one” call. According to The Seattle Times, the department defined such a call as “one that is the highest priority and involves a threat to life.” A fire department spokesperson told the newspaper the call was for “aiding a 28-year-old man who was evaluated and later declined transport to a hospital.”
Kandula was found suffering from life-threatening injuries at the scene, where officers performed CPR while they waited for the fire department to arrive. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition where she later died.
Officer Kevin Austin Dave, who struck Kandula, has been with the department since November 2019. Spokesperson Det. Valerie Carson told The Seattle Times that Kandula’s death is not being investigated as a use of force case and that the officer involved has not been placed on leave. “At this point in the investigation, we have no reason to believe the officer intended to hit that woman.”
Meanwhile, Kandula’s uncle, Ashok Mandula of Houston told the Times that he was “in shock” after hearing the news. They booked a flight to Seattle that night and are now in the city, working to transport the body back to India.
He told the paper that Kandula was from Adoni, a city in the southern part of the country about 300 miles north of Bangalore. She was the daughter of a single mother who teaches elementary school there and had one sister. Her mother had taken on financial debt so that Kandula could travel to the United States and earn her graduate degree, according to a GoFundMe page to help unburden Kandula’s mother. As of Jan. 31 morning, it had raised $161,566.
In a message to students, the dean of Northeastern’s Seattle campus, David Thurman, remembered Kandula as “a stellar student and a delightful and effervescent human being,” whose loss will be felt “deeply by students, staff, and faculty across campus.”