back to article Yahoo! engineer in murder-suicide riddle

A father suspected of murdering five members of his family before killing himself has been identified as a Yahoo! engineer. Devan Kalathat, 42, an analytics engineer at Yahoo! since 2004, shot dead his 11-year-old son, his four-year-old daughter, his brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and their 11-month-old niece during a massacre …


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  1. Ben Cross


    Just one of those things....reading the original article i wonder why he changed his name when he moved to the US.

    May his family RIP - not him.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Always makes me wonder what sort of sick mofo does this to his kids, him I couldn't care less about but his kids...

    No Paris, some things are too serious.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The sorry state

    of the human condition, particularly in these times. This is truly a tragic story, my condolences to those close to the family.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    breaking the mould?

    surely the correct el-reg title for this should have been "Yahoo! engineer! in! murder!-suicide! riddle!" going by the recent trend for any yahoo related headlines?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Has anyone done an analysis of the percentage of suicides by immigrant status. I know being an immigrant is difficult, in fact I know it quite well, although not on the same scale, I am an Anglo Saxon (Irish/English/Scottish/German mix) American working in Germany. I have never felt any suicidal tendencies at all, in fact I find the experience quite stimulating.

    It seems to me that a significantly higher number of non-whites commit suicide in white cultures, and I'm wondering if the same holds true in reverse. Like in Japan, I know that the number of Japanese suicides is huge, and very few foreigners commits suicide there - of course there's few foreigners in Japan anyway, but as a percentage, I suspect it's insignificant.

    I'm afraid I don't have any sympathy for the killer - but I certainly feel for the innocent victims. Sad, very sad.

  6. Tim Schomer

    Didn't someone

    recently say "You never hear of an IT worker 'Going Postal'" - I think they may have been wrong......

  7. Anonymous Coward


    ,,,USA gun law is to blame, not bonkers people!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Ashok? C'mon!

    Haha! Great April Fo- What? *Not* this one?

    Oh. Sad story, RIP, etc

  9. Anonymous Coward

    @ Bonkers AC.

    Although I am a bit on the fence regarding gun laws (I believe that there are very good reasons why people should be allowed to own and carry guns, but at the same time I believe that there are many people who should also never be allowed to own or carry... especially on the street where I live... so how to you determine who gets one and who don't?), I don't believe US gunlaws has anything to do with this incident... sounds like this was the actions of a person in a very troublesome mental state... I don't think a lack of a gun would have made much of a difference in his case... if he hadn't used a gun he would have used a knife, and if he hadn't used a knife he would have strangled them... or maybe he wouldn't have... who knows... it's a bit of a morbid thought experiment, but I don't think he decided to attempt to kill his entire family because of US law allowing you to own a gun. (Although as a recent immigrant he might not have been able to get himself a firearm legally)

    As for suicide statistics, last time I checked in the UK the typical suicide victim/perpetrator is a young british white male. Which means I should be safe. Seing as I'm imported.

    Or maybe I'm not... I would guess there would be more young white british males in the UK than there would be imigrants of scandinavian origin, so maybe we have a higher % rate, maybe the local boys only outdo us in raw numbers.

    Regardless of it all, it's a sad story.

  10. Lionel Baden

    oh man

    this just makes me very sad

  11. Sam Radford
    Thumb Up

    Murderous genes?

    Murderer wipes out his own genes. It's an ill wind...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC @ Bonkers AC.

    Actually, the US gun laws have a lot to do with this - an angry confrontation can turn into a bloody mess very quickly when a gun is in the house.

    Doing this kind of thing with a knife takes time and strength and people can defend themselves against it (with a chair or similar), or they can run. Also, knife wounds are not so immediately fatal - you need to miss the ribs and hit something vital (heart or major blood vessel). It takes a while to die. And as for strangling - the killer is basically limited to one at a time, unless the victims are locked in the room with him or helpless...

    Doing it with a gun is instantaneous, you only need one or two shots to disable or kill and can immediately turn on the next victim. The victims have less time to run and a lesser ability to defend themselves physically. Bullets cause much more damage than knives and can go through bone easily, including the skull.

    The US gun laws made sense in a frontier society, with muzzle-loaders and squirrel-rifles. But now? Just look at the murder rates with a gun vs. with a knife. And look at the difference in murder rates between the US and Europe (where guns are not easy to come by).

    Every person owning and carrying a gun is the personal equivalent of every country having nuclear weapons - Mutually Assured Destruction on a small scale. Not every country can be trusted with such a responsibility - Canada and Sweden yes but Rwanda and Syria no. You cannot let anybody have a gun, because there are too many psychos (even if the effects are temporary during an argument). Think Japan and Germany - now fine but 60 years ago no way...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A tragedy for sure

    and probably the first time El Reg hasn't over used the '!' after every word for a Yahoo story.

  14. Captain Thyratron

    Just in case AC ain't joking.

    When you consciously decide "I'm going to kill my entire family", the implement you use to do it is not at fault. That is tantamount to blaming your pencil for misspelled words.

  15. Trokair

    Gun Law

    Gun law only stops people who would follow the law to begin with. Banning guns only makes the illegal gun trade that much more of a powerfull system. Look at the war on drugs and how well the drug trade/cartels are doing for proof.

  16. Loki


    Shame nobody thought to search him.

  17. Luis Ogando
    IT Angle


    Far be it from me to pass negative comment on any El Reg story, but is the reason a point was made of the killer being a Yahoo! engineer purely to justify the story's existence in an IT-based newssite?

    This is a tragic and sad story, and my heart goes out to all those affected. His widow now has to deal with a return to full health while trying to come to terms with a destroyed family and the associated traumatic memories.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ ((@ AC @ Bonkers AC.))

    If the family had guns they could have defended themselves... The argument goes round n' round.

    The real question is why our society is so messed up that he was driven to this and that he did not seem able to ask for help. The tragedy is that we don't really care and one persons suffering can escalate to such a dramatic conclusion.

    "Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand."

    - Baruch Spinoza

  19. Allan Dyer

    @(@ ((@ AC @ Bonkers AC.)))

    If the family had had guns, then people would still be dead.

    Yesterday's front-page news in Hong Kong was about a woman who ran amok, attacking strangers. It didn't make international headlines, guess why? She used a broom, the worst injury was a broken arm. Hong Kong has gun control, and is safe - name me a US city of 7 million where that level of violence would become news.

  20. XML slave

    To Allen Dyer

    You are indeed correct that America would have fewer homicides if proper gun controls were in effect. Of course, more homicidal types would revert to melee weapons to dispense their judgement. Still, the efficiency of the firearm is greater. More people would end up surviving encounters with the homicidal....

    But not enough for it to ultimately matter.

    The way I understand it is that 5.6 per 100,000 people in USA die by homicide. In the UK, that figure is closer to 2.0 per 100,000. So significantly more people in America die by homicide than in the UK. Let's say proper gun control would bring the USA to the UK level of homicide. That means 3 or 4 people per 100,000 get to live (not sure if permanently injured or not). It's a serious impact, don't get me wrong. I'd be glad that those people survived and had the chance to finish out their lives.

    However, I wouldn't be glad of those things at the expense of civil liberty. Having a government, a majority, or even a minority group dictate the terms upon which I must live is what I consider to be the greater of the two evils. In order to prevent a few deaths I would sacrifice more personal freedom. Because a few are unable to wield a power responsibly, a government has the right to revoke everyone's right to wield said power? It's not the well-adjusted person who needs a law of this nature, but those of damaged intellect or psyche. Odd as it seems, it's thus the miscreant that dictates the terms on which people must abide.

    It's not easy to say, and it shouldn't be, but I would sooner have those people die in a hail of psychotic gunfire than relinquish any more of my personal freedom and choice.

  21. JayB

    re: @ AC @ Bonkers AC

    What a load of tosh. I do hope making coherent and rational arguments isn't a part of your job AC.

    If the guy had a knife, he'd have gone round and killed the family instead, only he'd have done it quietly. As the UK news testifies, it's not bloody tricky to kill someone with a knife. Pretty much anything inside the body is vital and once it's carved up it's bloody difficult to repair in time before the person dies. Stick the blade in, waggle it around and hey presto, something important just got damaged badly

    If he not had access to a knife, he could have posioned them, beat them to death, suffocated them in their sleep. In cases like this where some poor schlemel like this loses it so badly he kills his kids, it's the mind that is the issue, not the method he used.

    Besides, we have way stricter gun laws and it happens here.

    My heart goes out to the relatives... this has to be the worst way to lose people.

  22. Arthur Coppock

    To XML

    So all the loss of liberty after the 11 September 2001 was a mistake then and 4,000 deaths shouldn't cause you to lose any of your civil liberty? Can't let the terrorists become and excuse for the US government revoke you rights and not let you wield your power? What an enlightened US citizen you are sir...... Shame your government doesn't share your views.

    Mines the one with 101ml bottle hidden in the pocket.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Luis Ogando

    >Far be it from me to pass negative comment on any El Reg story, but is the reason a point was made of the killer being a Yahoo! engineer purely to justify the story's existence in an IT-based newssite?

    Haven't you ever noticed that, for example but not limited to, CNN World News will overlook what you may think to be a really important piece of world news and instead have a ten minute report on 2 Americans who were killed in a light aeroplane accident in America.

    Well this is the same sort of thing. It will always be a case that news that affects ones own community is given more importance. As such, the fact that this was a Yahoo engineer is significant even though not IT related in any other way.

    As for the comments about gun laws. Different people kill in different ways for different reasons. The gun gives the killer a disconnection between himself and his victims and the killing is not such a personal action. Knife attacks and stangulation require an amount of physical contact with the victims, given that the victims were his family it is more than likely that without access to a gun he would not have been able to kill them in any other way.

  24. Mike

    It is *not* the gun laws

    America and Canada have very similar gun laws, they also have a similar level of gun ownership, the gun laws probably make no difference in this case, the guy had psycological issues and did things that nobody in their right mind would do.

    The general problem in america and the reason why there is a disproportionate level of gun related murders is americans and their fear culture, not the gun laws, there is also a disproportionate level of afro-american people in prison, povety line families, creationists and media hype, it is an awful place.

    btw. The UK does not have a problem with knives, it's media fear culture, and it will get worse.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Betcha it was the Pills

    -it's time to admit Big harma, sorry, Big Pharma is in it for the bucks& not in the business of curing

    1 - 1,100,000 for antidepressants+suicide

    1 - 44,600 for antidepressants+homicide

  26. Wayland Sothcott


    SSRIs, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. This family of drugs contains the flurine molecule, the same one in Sarin and VX nerve gas, the same one the Nazis put in the water in the Jewish parts of town.

    This is the drug given to depressed people before they go on a shooting rampage. How could someone be so unfeeling as to shoot their own children? Well numbing your feelings is the whole purpose of prozac. Read the datasheet that comes in a box of SSRI pills and you will see suicide is one of the side effects along with sleeplessness.

    Now who do we know went on a shooting rampage in the early hours of the morning?

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