Student shot and killed after apparent 'mugging-gone-wrong' in Florida over an iPhone

'Friendly and gentle' man had only been in Miami for a month

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A student has been shot dead in Florida after an apparent mugging-gone-wrong, his friends and relatives have said.

23-year-old Sai Kiran Aila – from Hyderabad in India – had only been in Miami for a month and was studying for a master’s degree in information technology at the city’s Atlantis University.

Described as being a “friendly, gentle guy”, Mr Aila is said to have been shot four times outside of his apartment building – in the city’s Little Havana neighbourhood – in the early hours of Sunday morning.

His uncle, Shravan Kumar, said his nephew was on the phone at the time of the incident and added: “We received information from his friends that some people demanded his phone on which he was already talking.

“His friend on the other end of the call heard four rounds of gun shots being fired. We are awaiting more details.”

Mr Kumar told The New Indian Express today that his nephew had only just bought a new iPhone and laptop four days before his death and that Mr Aila’s mother, Rupa Bhavani, doesn’t even know yet that her son has died – because the family is struggling to tell her.

Atlantis University yesterday offered its condolences and said in a statement: “The death of a student affects the entire Atlantis University community and all of us send our deepest expressions of sympathy to Sai Kiran’s parents, family and friends.

“Sai Kiran’s passing is made even more painful as the university embraces its Indian student community, formed by great professionals who come to the United States to pursue a graduate degree.”

Crime scene investigators with the City of Miami Police Department are still analysing the crime scene and the events which led up to the incident. So far, they are only confirming there was a shooting.

Meanwhile, The Telugu Association of North America has said it is doing ‘everything in its power’ to send Mr Aila’s body back home to India.