What many in Kansas believed to be a routine barroom shooting has now escalated into something of an international incident as authorities are now investigating the murder as a hate crime.
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The shooting happened shortly after 7:00 p.m. Wednesday at Austins Bar and Grill in the small town of Olathe. Adam W. Purinton, 51, yelled “get out of my country” and shot two men he reportedly believed to be Islamic immigrants.
Later, in another bar in Clinton, Mo., Purinton was captured after he was overheard bragging that he had killed two Middle Eastern men.
The man Purinton killed was Srinivas Kuchibhotla. He worked for Garmin, a GPS company.Alok Madasani was wounded in the attack. Both men are from India. A third man, Ian Grillot, tried to intervene and was also shot.
Grillot, an American, hid under a table when the shooting began, but then chased Purinton into the parking lot. He mistakenly assumed Purinton was out of ammunition, and tried to apprehend him. Purinton then shot him in the hand and in the chest.
“It wasn’t right, and I didn’t want the gentleman to potentially go after somebody else,” Mr. Grillot explained from the hospital.
News of the shooting dominated headlines in India where many fear that the rhetoric of th eTrump administration is making America a dangerous place to be, even for the thousands of Indian nationals who immigrate to work on H1B visas.
India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, said on Friday on Twitter: “I am shocked at the shooting incident in Kansas in which Srinivas Kuchibhotla has been killed. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved family.” Ms. Swaraj said she had spoken to Mr. Kuchibhotla’s father and brother, who live in Hyderabad, India.
Purinton has been charged with one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder. The incident, still under investigation, is likely to result in civil rights charges, as well.
“Our role in this investigation is to work jointly with local law enforcement to determine if an individual’s civil rights were violated,” Eric K. Jackson, agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s field office in Kansas City, Mo told the New York Times. “It’s not uncommon for hate crime investigations to be conducted jointly by the F.B.I. and local law enforcement and prosecuted under the state law.”