A grainy, black and white video released Nov. 13 by the The Santa Cruz County, California Sheriff’s Department shows three suspects who are believed to be the killers of Indian American tech entrepreneur Tushar Atre.
The 50-year-old founder and CEO of AtreNet was kidnapped from his home at about 3 a.m Oct. 1 early morning. His body was found about seven hours later, about 10 miles away, on property he owned.
Atre was driven from his home in a 2008 white BMW SUV, which belongs to his girlfriend Rachel Emerlye, who lives in Massachusetts, but was apparently visiting Atre that week. Emerlye is not a suspect in the case, according to the Sheriff’s office.
An autopsy report concluded that Atre had died from a single gunshot wound. Investigators have not revealed on what part of his body Atre was shot nor whether there were other wounds on his corpse.
The video shows three individuals believed to be men. Two suspects are wearing baseball caps while a third is wearing a hood and carrying a duffle bag. One of the suspects is carrying a rifle.
Ashley Keehn, a spokeswoman for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department, told India-West the suspects walked out of the small alley and to Atre’s home on Pleasure Point Drive. The surveillance camera footage was time-stamped 2:47 a.m.
Keehn said investigators are now determining whether the rifle’s ballastics match the caliber of the weapon with which Atre was shot. They have also questioned people in the neighborhood and responded to several calls from people who have viewed the video and were able to obtain possible identifying information.
Keehn in an earlier interview declined to state how the surveillance camera footage was obtained.
Private citizens had put up a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Atre’s killers; that reward has now been increased to $150,000. People with information are encouraged to call Sgt. Jacob Ainsworth at (831) 454-7635.
In 2018, Atre founded Interstitial Systems, a licensed cannabis dispensary and delivery service. The company was based a short distance from his home.
Emerlye, his girlfriend, also owns a pot dispensary.
Atre.net released an homage to its founder Oct. 16, describing Atre as an avid surfer, mountain biker, guitarist, and craftsman. “Tushar appreciated art and expression, supporting local artists and integrating their work into his style. He loved his family and friends, and found joy and passion in every facet of life. Most importantly, Tushar pushed others to think and act differently – to do better, and to always strive for more,” read the statement released by the company.
AtreNet, a web marketing and design firm, was founded in 1996. The still-active company serves some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest corporations, including Hewlett Packard, VMWare, Marvell, Verisign, LSI Logic, Seagate, and dozens of others, according to the company’s Web site.
“Over 23 years, he guided the company to become the premiere web services agency for B2B technology companies. His dedicated team delivered hundreds of successful and influential projects, setting the benchmark for web design, optimization, and user experience. He loved working with his customers and forging relationships with them. Many of those customers became close friends,” said the company in its statement.
Atre, who was born in New York, earned his B.A. in English Literature from New York University in 1992.
(See earlier story in India-West here: https://bit.ly/37ixAZY)