Anupam Sanyal, 23-Year-Old Virginia Tech Student and Aspiring Musician, Dies in Late-Night Santa Monica Street Race
Updated after the jump: Turns out Sanyal survived the Virgina Tech massacre of 2007. According to an LA Weekly commenter, he even tried to run in and stop the shooter.
During what Santa Monica police believe to have been a street race down Wilshire Boulevard at 3 a.m. last Saturday, 23-year-old Santa Monica resident Anupam Sanyal died when his car sideswiped another vehicle and smashed head-on into a palm tree.
According to the police report, Sanyal's 2004 Honda Accord was racing an orange Camaro, speeding through the westbound lanes, when Sanyal lost control.
After nicking the Camaro, he "collided with a tree on the north side of the roadway" -- a palm tree, to be exact, the one that stands in front of Poquito Más, a "Baja Taco Stand" located near Wilshire Boulevard and 20th Street.
Sanyal leaves behind hours of YouTube footage of his musical aspirations --
Including the quite clever and timely "Autotuned Valentine," including the line, "Only want perfection for ya/ Lose all inflection for ya." The video was posted February 1, 2011 -- just 12 days before his death. See for yourself:
His YouTube account, Igga4eva06, reveals a quick, humorous guy with dimples for days; he's lighthearted, sincere and golden-voiced. Uploads include over 30 videos of Sanyal, otherwise known as "Bidnizz," playing the guitar, covering pop songs and trying his hand at rapping. He even appears to have done some live shows back in Virginia.
Then, just this morning, a friend posted the following YouTube tribute in honor of Bidnizz:
According to his Facebook profile, Sanyal was from Burke, Virginia, and attended Virginia Tech University (an alumni spokeswoman confirms this, but is not sure if the 23-year-old ever graduated) before moving migrating west to Santa Monica, California.
Santa Monica Police Department press officer Sergaent Jay Trisler says that "due to statements of witnesses and some other stuff," investigators are fairly certain Sanyal was street racing at the time of his death. Which makes the investigation of his death somewhat new territory to the department, Trisler says, as the city has little-to-no history of the dangerous activity.
According to City News Service, as of yesterday evening:
A motorist suspected of involvement in a street race in Santa Monica in which another driver was killed was questioned by police but not immediately arrested. ...
The other car kept going, but police eventually found it abandoned and tracked down the registered owner, whose name was not released. It was unclear if the vehicle owner was the driver.
Santa Monica police Sgt. Mario Toti said the person believed to be other driver gave officers a statement about what happened but was not arrested.
The car was impounded as evidence.
Did you know Anupam Sanyal? Share your thoughts below.
Update: Commenter Mohawk-John writes that Sanyal was a Tae Kwon Do black belt and martial-arts instructor while attending Virginia Tech. Even more shocking, and ironic considering his recent misfortune, is an alleged run-in with death he had while trying to block the school's infamous shooter:
"He was an incredibly good person, with a big heart. On the day of the shooting, he was standing outside of Norris Hall -- where 30 of the 32 were killed -- and tried to run inside to do stop it. Luckily a bystander stopped him, and we were granted a few extra years with him. Wish I'd made more of those years."
Other commenters share that "the boy could sing" and "not only was he immensely talented, but he was genuinely kind and funny and he was always smiling."
Originally posted at 9:20 a.m.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.