By Jennifer Turk, NBC17 Reporter
DURHAM, N.C. -- Most everyone that came into contact with 29-year-old Abhijit Mahato says its his smile that welcomed them first and put them at ease. Discuss this story
“I’ve never known anyone that works 80 hours a week and smiles that much,” professor Tod Laurson said.
Laurson was Mahato’s advisor in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. He said he feels sadness for not only having lost Laurson as a friend, but also as a contributor to the university.
“The thing that’s going to be hard to think about is that he was an enormously talented guy and it’s going to be a loss for our technical community as well,” Laurson said.
Mahato was gunned down on January 18 at his apartment on Anderson St. near Duke’s campus. Stephan Oates, 19, was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder and robbery.
Mahato came to Duke University in August of 2006 from Calcuta, India. He was an active member of the International House on campus.
Friends of the PhD student said they remember Mahato as a fun loving guy who cared about all the people around him.
“We had just watched a movie together last weekend he had cooked an elaborate dish,” friend Chanbrasekhar Annavarabu said. “I’m just in shock now.”
Laurson said that he had a conversation with Mahato’s father two days ago.
“He asked for only two things,” Laurson said. “One is for the return of his son, and the other is for the university to look after Abhijit’s friends.”
Laurson said that will be Duke’s top priority.