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UCLA student's killing stuns friends, classmates

  • Story Highlights
  • Krishna Rajarman went home on weekends to be with family rather than party
  • Friends say he was committed to mentoring his two younger siblings
  • Police: Teen's father, jobless and in financial trouble, killed him and his family
  • Friend describes Krishna: "He was literally the smartest person I've ever known"
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From Stan Wilson
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Krishna Rajarman's classmates and friends remembered him Tuesday as a mentor and scholar who preferred to go home on weekends to spend time with his younger brothers than party on campus.

Krishna Rajarman, a Fulbright Scholar and honors student, was a junior at UCLA.

"We asked him, 'Why not stay a weekend because we might do something fun?' " said Ashwin Bhongir, Krishna's roommate and childhood friend.

"He said, 'I want to be here for my brothers. I like to spend time with my brothers, it's important.'"

Krishna, a 19-year-old junior at UCLA, a Fulbright Scholar and an honors student, was found Monday fatally shot at his parents' home in suburban Los Angeles.

Police said his father killed the teen, his two younger brothers, ages 7 and 12, his grandmother and mother.

Karthik Rajaram, a 45-year-old unemployed financial services expert, then killed himself, police said.

The six bodies were discovered in their neatly tended home in an upscale suburb 20 minutes outside Los Angeles on Monday. A neighbor called police to report that the wife had failed to pick her up to take her to her job.

Inside the house, police also found letters from the father explaining that mounting financial pressure had led him to kill.

Fraternity member Vim Mahadev remembered Krishna as a devoted L.A. Lakers fan who occasionally mentioned family problems, but nothing unusual.

"Nothing ever came up serious," said Mahadev. "It was mostly his dad, about financial problems. But most of the time it was how he was his hero because he was intelligent and he always knew the right decisions to make.

"It's just so ironic."

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Krishna's friends Bhongir and Nahel Patel grew up around the Rajaram family and told CNN they never saw signs of family turmoil during their teenage years.

"I knew his family very well, and every time I went there, it was one of the most welcoming homes I've ever been to," said Bhongir. "It was always a fun loving place to be."

"He was one of the most promising friends that I ever knew, he was literally the smartest person I've ever known," said Bhongir. "He was going to make it."

Bhongir and Nahel, both business economic majors at UCLA, said Krishna's father was a role model to them. Krishna had wanted to follow his father's footsteps in studies and career.

The father received his MBA from UCLA in 1987, according to UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton.

Police said he went on to work in a financial holding company and for major accounting firms, such as Price Waterhouse.

As a freshman, Krishna joined the campus co-ed fraternity Delta Phi Beta, organized by South Asian students.


Fraternity member Natasha Parikh said she was one of Krishna's closest friends.

"I just talked to him on Wednesday, and he was so excited about the new recruits we were having," she said. "He was so excited about this year, and it's so painful that he can't be here to experience the rest of our time at UCLA."

"He really didn't talk about his personal life; I always saw him as a happy guy who never once said he was going through any major difficulty, so this has come as a complete shock."

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