An LSU graduate student was months away from returning home to Bangladesh to get married when he was fatally shot early Saturday morning during a robbery of Mr. Lucky’s Valero Gas Station in Baton Rouge.
Friends said Md Firoz-Ul-Amin, 29, planned to get married in December. He had just arranged to pick up the ring for the ceremony and was hoping to go to Bali for his honeymoon. He then planned to bring his bride with him back to the U.S. where he was working on his Ph.D. in the computer science program at LSU.
Around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, Firoz-Ul-Amin was working as a clerk at Mr. Lucky’s Valero Gas Station at 1400 Airline Highway when a man entered the building, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. The man shot and killed Firoz-Ul-Amin before robbing the store.
An LSU graduate student was fatally shot during a robbery of Mr. Lucky's Valero Gas Station in Baton Rouge.
Later Saturday morning, the Valero Gas Station was empty, with a padlock on the door and signs posted saying the business was closed. It sits in an isolated area along a stretch of highway near the old bridge, surrounded by shipping containers and warehouses. Next door, the bar and lounge attached to the Valero building was also bolted shut.
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LSU Director of Media Relations Ernie Ballard said Firoz-Ul-Amin was a Ph.D. student in the university's computer science and engineering program. He worked under Golden G. Richard III, a professor who specializes in research on digital forensics, reverse engineering and malware analysis.
Richard said Firoz-Ul-Amin worked in his lab on malware analysis and cybersecurity research. Richard was impressed with Firoz-Ul-Amin's grasp of malware detection, which the professor describes as particularly difficult work, especially for a student without much of a background in the area.
“He turned out to be really, really smart and a really good writer in English,” Richard said. “We were just looking forward to doing awesome stuff with him.”
Richard added that in addition to Firoz-Ul-Amin’s intelligence and hard-working personality, he was kind and well-liked.
“He’s one of the nicest people I’ve met at LSU,” Richard said. “He’s also just so amazingly sweet and just a beautiful person — and not all graduate students are beautiful people.”
Firoz-Ul-Amin had recently completed work on two papers with Richard that had both been submitted to journals, one of which has been published. Given his academic potential and warm persona, Firoz-Ul-Amin’s death will leave a giant hole in both the social and technical fabric of the lab, Richard said.
Firoz-Ul-Amin's LinkedIn page shows he received both a bachelor's degree and master's degree in computer science and engineering from Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh. He was scheduled to graduate with his doctorate from LSU in 2023.
LSU President F. King Alexander released a statement Saturday afternoon, referencing Firoz-Ul-Amin's talent and potential in the department.
"The entire LSU community mourns the tragic loss of Ph.D. student Firoz-Ul-Amin," Alexander wrote. "He was an incredibly gifted student and researcher with such a promising future. Our thoughts are with his family, fellow students and his professors in the Computer Science and Engineering program at this time."
Shravya Parchri, a lab mate of Firoz-Ul-Amin, said what she will remember most about her friend is his sense of humor and his charisma.
He tended to favor quirky puns, she said, and always tried to lighten the mood when his coworkers were overwhelmed. Sometimes they wouldn’t even realize they needed relief from their stress, Parchri explained, but somehow Firoz-Ul-Amin always knew what to do at the right time.
“Whenever I was in need of help, he was there first to help me out,” she said.
Modhuparna Manna, another lab mate and close friend, said she had just seen Firoz-Ul-Amin the day before his death while hanging out with some friends. She recalls everything felt normal as they laughed and talked.
He eventually left, and she imagined she would see him again soon.
“We lost a gem,” she said. “My prayers are with his family.”