Vishnu Pandit (AP Photo / Family of Vishnu Pandit)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vishnu Pandit, 61, died in a shooting rampage Monday at the Washington Navy Yard.
Marine engineer and naval architect Pandit preferred the nickname Kisan, the Hindi word for "peasant." It suited the hard-working Indian immigrant, known for his devotion to family, community and his 30-year civilian Navy career.
"He was very dedicated to improving the performance of naval ships and systems," longtime friend M. Nuns Jain said Tuesday outside the North Potomac home where Pandit's family privately mourned. "The only saving grace in this horrible incident is that he died doing what he loved the most in the service of his nation."
Jain said Pandit, a Mumbai native, earned a bachelor's degree in marine engineering in India in 1973 before coming to America and receiving a degree in naval architecture from the University of Michigan.
He said Pandit sailed with the U.S. Merchant Marine before joining the Naval Sea Systems Command, headquartered at the Washington Navy Yard.
Married to his wife Anjali since 1978, Pandit had two sons and a granddaughter, Jain said.
"He was a real family man and he loved dogs," including the family's golden retriever, Bailey, Jain said.
Neighbor Satish Misra said Pandit was on the home owners association board in their leafy subdivision, and active in the local Hare Krishna Hindu temple.
"He was a gentle man. I really loved him and his family," Misra said.
Associated Press writers Amanda Kell, Ben Nuckols and Allen G. Breed contributed to this report.
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