Tackle Box suspect Athwal Singh pleads not guilty at his first court appearance

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Athwal Singh appeared in Fresno County Superior Court, where his attorney entered a not guilty plea. (KFSN)

The suspect, Athwal Singh appeared in Fresno County Superior court, where his attorney entered a not guilty plea to charges of carrying a loaded firearm. His bail was set at $128,000.

Singh, 21, from Modesto was arrested Monday morning when a Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy spotted Singh's pickup stuck along the roadside near Kerman. Singh appeared intoxicated and weapons were found in the vehicle.

Singh was identified as a suspect in the death of Dharampreet Jassar. The 20-year-old store clerk was shot during the holdup of the Tackle Box mini-mart. Jassar was a Fresno City College student, from India on a student visa.

Action News spoke with his cousin, Satvinder Singh by phone from his home in Stockton who has heard from the victim's parents in India.

"They are heartbroken, they still cannot believe their son is no more in this world," said Singh.

The death has made news in India. The front page of the Hindustan Times carries the victim's photograph and tells how he came to the U.S. two years ago to study to become a lawyer.

His cousin tells us the family and community was stunned to learn the suspect in his death was also Indian.

"Which is a shocking thing for the whole community, being another, he might be an Indian. He might be a Singh. I don't think so, he has any humanity in his mind, in his brain. What act he has committed," said Singh.

The Madera County sheriff's Department says store Surveillance video shows Singh, and another man committing the crime, carrying cigarettes out of the store. Deputies are still searching for the second suspect.

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