Chandra and Lavanya Sunkara

Family of four found shot to death in Iowa

A West Des Moines, Iowa family of four was found shot to death on the morning of June 15. The victims were Chandrasekhar “Chandra” Sunkara, 44, his wife Lavanya, 41, and their two boys Prabhas, 15, and Suhas, 10, according to Heavy. Autopsies were conducted and it was determined that Chandra killed his wife then his two boys with a gun, before turning the gun on himself, according to the West Des Moines Police Department. A family friend told the Times of India that Chandra had been suffering from severe depression.

On 10 am on Saturday, a family relative ran out of the house and told a neighbor to call 911 after the person discovered the bodies. At the time, four relatives of the Sunkara family were staying at the house.

“This tragedy will impact family, friends, co-workers, anyone that knew this family,” said Sergeant Dan Wade. “We are continuing to work through this investigation. We will follow through until we have answered as many questions as the evidence allows. We are confident, though, that there is no continuing threat to the community.”

Chandra and Lavanya Sunkara immigrated to the United States over 20-years-ago from India. Chandra worked for the Iowa Department of Public Safety in the Technical Service Bureau for the last 11 years. He received a Governor’s Excellence Award in 2010 for his work.

The Department of Public Safety released a statement saying, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Sunkaras. Counseling services will be available on Monday for any employee needing assistance.”

The boys were fervent basketball players and their nicknames were “The Professor” and “Champ.” They played for the Mullets basketball team. Besides loving basketball they were avid school students.

Prabhas and Suhas Sunkara

Shrikar Somayajula, A Grade Ahead director, who knew the family for ten years, told WHO TV, “You don’t see something like this happen in the Indian community. let alone a heinous act like this.

“The family was a very friendly family and so it is really painful. For someone who we’ve know so close and we’ve seen them come in week after week come in for classes and we’ve seen them as recent as last Wednesday, to learn that they are not there anymore is something that really breaks our heart.”

The bodies will be turned over to the family on June 17.

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