An LSU Ph.D. student was fatally shot early on Saturday while working as a store clerk at Baron Rouge gas station.
Computer science and engineering graduate student Md Firoz-Ul-Amin, 29, was shot and killed around 3:30 a.m. during a robbery of Mr. Lucky’s Valero gas station, at 1400 Airline Highway.
Firoz-Ul-Amin researched cyber security under computer science and engineering professor Golden G. Richard III. Richard said Firoz-Ul-Amin was researching malware detection on the operating system Linux. He was expected to receive his Ph.D. in 2023.
Friends and collegues of Firoz-Ul-Amin praised his intelligence and work ethic. Richard said he worked hard both in the lab and in the classroom. Firoz-Ul-Alim was also a teaching assistant and substituted for multiple professors.
“He helped the University way beyond the call of duty. He helped students in the lab when he was tired and could be doing something else and worked so hard,” Richard said. “The students loved him.”
Firoz-Ul-Amin planned to return home to Bangladesh in December to marry his fiancee, Nazmin Sultana Smrity. The couple planned to return to the U.S. for Smrity to pursue a master’s degree in library science at LSU and Firoz-Ul-Amin to continue his research on cyber security.
Richard has been in contact with Smrity since Firoz-Ul-Amin’s death and said she is distraught. Richard hopes to create a scholarship in his former student’s name to bring Smrity to the U.S. to pursue her goal.
“Her view now is that her life is destroyed,” Richard said. “The only thing that she sees that she can do is to pursue a little part of the plan that they had.”
Computer science and engineering graduate student Sneha Sudhakaran sat beside Firoz-Ul-Amin in the lab and got to know him well as a result. Sudhakaran said Firoz-Ul-Amin was well-liked and always there to help those around him.
“He was a very, very kind person, a very genuine person,” Sudhakaran said. “He was very hardworking and helpful. If anyone needed help, he was there anytime.”
Sudhakaran said Firoz-Ul-Amin was excited to live the life that he had planned for him and his future wife and hopes that scholarship will come to fruition.
“It was his major wish to bring his fiance here to the U.S., so it would be a really amazing way to honor him,” Sudhakaran said.
Another lab-mate and friend of Firoz-Ul-Amin, computer science and engineering graduate student Raphaela Mettig, said one thing she admired most about Firoz-Ul-Amin was his unwavering desire to help people.
“One of my friends took a class, and all of the students were having a really hard time understanding the course,” Mettig said. “He was going above and beyond to help the students. He was doing all he could to make sure those who could pass would pass.”
Firoz-Ul-Amin’s father died due to illness last year, according to Richard. Firoz-Ul-Amin wanted to help support his remaining family in Bangladesh.
LSU Bangladeshi Student Association program coordinator Md Tanvir Ahmed Sarkar started a GoFundMe on Sunday to cover the funeral expenses, aid Firoz-Ul-Amin’s family through this time and transport his body to Bangladesh. As of Wednesday, the GoFundMe had raised over $45,000, surpassing its $30,000 goal.
It is unclear whether Mr. Lucky’s Valero gas station had surveillance. As of Wednesday, no witnesses had come forward.
“I really pray that he gets justice,” Sudhakaran said.
Updated Sept. 12, 8:45 p.m. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office arrested Antonio D. Watts, 22, for the murder of Md Firoz-Ul-Amin. Watts is being charged with first-degree murder, illegal use of a weapon and felon in possession of a weapon.