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India murder suspect apparently kills wife, 2 kids, self in California

A man wanted for murder in India apparently killed his wife and two of their children and wounded a third before committing suicide Saturday morning at his Selma, Calif., home, officials say.

Avtar Singh, 47, called Selma police around 6:15 a.m. and told them that he had killed members of his family and was going to kill himself, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said.

Selma police sought aid from Fresno County sheriff's officials because Singh reportedly had military experience in his native India, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said in a prepared statement obtained by NBC station KSEE of Fresno.


Sheriff's officials tried to contact Singh verbally and by phone, but he did not respond, Mims said.

Fresno County Sheriff's Office

Avtar Singh

When a sheriff's SWAT team entered the home after first examining it with a robot, members found the bodies of Singh, his wife and two children, ages 3 and 15, Mims said. A wounded teen was also found in the home, she said.

The teen was taken to a hospital and is in critical condition with life-threatening wounds, Mims said.

A motive was not immediately clear.

An Indian army major in the 1990s, Singh is accused in the March 1996 killing of human rights lawyer Jaleel Andrabi in the Kashmiri city of Srinagar.

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Avtar Singh on March 8, 1996, allegedly arrested Andrabi, whose body was recovered March 27, 1996, from the Jehlulm River near Srinagar, according to Indian reports of the case.

Andrabi had been shot in the head and his eyes were gouged out, the Fresno Bee reported.

See the story at NBC station KSEE of Fresno

In Srinagar on Thursday, a court granted Afaq Ahmad, chief prosecuting officer, five more days to prepare an error-free charge sheet and English translation to be submitted to the Ministry of External Affairs so Singh could be extradited, the South Asian News Agency reported.

The ministry earlier sent back the charge sheet, claiming it was neither clear nor legible and that it contained errors, SANA reported.

Andrabi's family has claimed the government for years has delayed prosecuting the case.

Singh had contended he was made a scapegoat in Andrabi’s murder case and that his battalion was nowhere near the place where Andrabi was kidnapped at the height of an anti-India uprising, SANA reported.

On Feb. 20, 2011, Singh was arrested and then freed from the Fresno County jail, after he got bail in a domestic violence case registered against him by his wife. Although his fingerprints led police to contact Interpol, the agency said he did not have to be held, SANA reported.

In Selma, a city of 23,000 in California’s agriculturally oriented Central Valley, Singh ran Jay Truck Lines, according to U.S. Department of Transportation records. The interstate trucking company specialized in refrigerated trucks for hauling produce and other products, records indicate.

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