In a sad incident a young hotelier lost his life over a petty dispute. 30 years old Zeshan Chaudhry, owner of Motel 6 in Vernon, Connecticut, was shot dead after a dispute with a guest over a $10 pool pass. This happened around 4 PM on 27 June, 2021, according to local news coverage
This incident is another addition to an alarmingly growing list of violent crimes against Asian American hotel owners, usually by the guests. After this incident AAHOA and owner advocacy group Reform Lodging has sprung into action, demanding strict legal action against the culprits.
Chaudhry had a confrontationn with a female guest over $10 price of pool pass. The female was accompanied by her 31 year old boyfriend Alvin Waugh of Hartford, Connecticut. Chaudhry asked the couple to leave the place as the argument heated up, at which point the boyfriend went to his room and returned with a gun. After another argument with Chaudhry, he shot the motel owner several times, according to the arrest report.
Waugh, had initially ran away from the scene after the shooting but later returned and surrendered to the police. He has been charged with murder, criminal use of a weapon, use of a firearm for a felony, carrying a firearm without a permit, tampering with physical evidence, reckless endangerment and risk of injury.
Ken Greene, interim AAHOA president and CEO, expressed shock and grief while commenting on this senseless shooting incident. Greene said, “A life taken over a $10 pool pass dispute. When will the violence end? America’s hotel owners are shocked and outraged by this senseless act of violence against a small business owner simply doing his job.”
“Chaudhry was only 30 years old when he was shot multiple times on Sunday. He had a long life ahead of him, and we offer our deepest sympathies to his family, and our community is mourning with them today. Hate has no place in our members’ hotels, or in any hotels”, continued Mr Greene.
There has been a significant increase in attacks against hoteliers, specially those of Asian origin. Hoteliers are already having a stressful period due to financial setbacks resulting from lockdowns and decrease in travel activity following the Covid-19 pandemic. These crimes add to that stress.
Other people have also passed remarks about this tragic incident and said that taking away someone’s life over a $10 dispute was absolutely insane and unacceptable.
Sagar Shah, Reform Lodging president and co-founder, was also very vocal about his disapproval over this incident. He stated, “Zeshan was protecting the interests of his property, which was met with an unfathomable ending, a young life cut short from gun violence. While the perpetrator was apprehended by local authorities, it does not change the appalling nature of this crime, the demise of a human life all over a pool pass, in the presence of young children”.
While expressing their disapproval and outrage in clear terms, both Shah an Greene also expressed confidence in local authorities in pursuing the charges against Waugh so that justice is met. Shah also urged fellow hoteliers to be cautious, vigilant, practice situational awareness and conflict resolution, and lean on law enforcement so that such incidents can be avoided in future.