Ish patel

Ishvarlal Kuvarji Patel. (Simpson Funeral Home photo)

ROANOKE, Va. — A Virginia man has been charged with murder in connection with an attack on an Indian American motel owner, Ishvarlal Kuvarji Patel, and two women.

The Roanoke Times reports 26-year-old Timothy Mwandi Church is being held without bond.

A Roanoke police department statement says officers arrived at the Starlite Motel Jan. 23 and found the 60-year-old Patel, of Troutville, Va., on the floor. They also saw a man holding a baseball bat and standing over two visibly injured women.

Dispatchers told officers that the caller was in the motel’s office, and that they could hear a “loud, violent disorder in the background,” according to a news release, the Times said.

Police say Church had run from the scene before being arrested. Patel was pronounced dead at the scene from blunt force trauma.

One woman was still hospitalized as of Jan. 24. The other woman has been released.

Police spokesman Scott Leamon says detectives are still investigating if Church knew the victims.

Patel, as he was known by friends and family, was a kind man whose love for family, friends and community was only matched by his commitment to generosity, hospitality and courtesy to all, the Times reported.

Patel was born in Mozambique and later grew up in Kabwe, Zambia, on his family's farm. He moved to London to pursue his education in engineering. Upon finishing his education and finding the love of his life, he and his wife Jyotsana Patel returned to Zambia for a short time before immigrating to the United States in the town of Higgins, Texas.

A memorial service is being held for Patel Jan. 30. Condolences may be left for the family. 

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