Man who allegedly shouted “Get out of my country” during shooting charged with first-degree murder
Police charged a 51-year-old white man with first-degree murder after he allegedly shot and killed an Indian man and wounded another Indian man and a white bystander at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, Wednesday night. Federal prosecutors are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Witnesses at the Austins Bar and Grill told local media they thought the attack was racially motivated. The suspect, Adam Purinton, reportedly used “racial slurs” before opening fire on two patrons of Indian nationality as they watched a basketball game on television.
One of the victims, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, worked as an engineer for a local aviation technology company. He died at the hospital, police said. His friend, Alok Madasani, 32, also reportedly an engineer, was hospitalized and has since been released. The third victim, Ian Grillot, 24, was wounded as he tried to intervene on behalf of Kuchibhotla and Madasani, police said. He is also reported to be hospitalized in stable condition.
A witness told the Kansas City Star that the suspect shouted, “Get out of my country” before shooting Kuchibhotla and Madasani, and then fled from the bar on foot. Later that night, the newspaper reported, the suspect told a bartender at an Applebee’s in Clinton, Missouri — about 75 miles from the crime scene — that he had just murdered two Middle Eastern men and needed somewhere to hide out.
Indian news media covered the attack extensively, and Indian lawmakers and state officials took to Twitter to convey their shock and sadness. “The vicious racism unleashed in some quarters in the U.S. claims more innocent victims, who happen to be Indian,” wrote Shashi Tharoor, an Indian lawmaker, on Twitter. India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj wrote on Twitter that she was “shocked” by the incident. “My heartfelt condolences to bereaved family.”
Madasani Jaganmohan Reddy, father of the wounded victim, told the Hindustan Times that he wants his son to quit his job and return home. “The situation seems to be pretty bad after Trump took over as the U.S. President,” Reddy said. “I appeal to all the parents in India not to send their children to the U.S. in the present circumstances.”
A local man named Brian Ford set up a GoFundMe fund to support the victims. Ford says he lives about 15 minutes away from the bar where the attack took place and has a close friend who worked at Garmin, the company that employed the two Indian victims. As of Friday morning, Ford had raised nearly $45,000 of his $50,000 target, which he said would go to cover medical and funeral expenses for the victims.
Cover: AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A