Shooter yells 'Get out of my country'
An Indian engineer was killed and two were injured on Friday when an American navy veteran, yelling “get out of my country”, fired at them in a crowded bar in Kansas City.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla (32), working at GPS-maker Garmin headquarters in Olathe, died in hospital of bullet injuries, while his Indian colleague Alok Madasani (32) was critically injured.
The 51-year-old shooter started hurling racial slurs following an altercation on Wednesday night. A third person, an American man identified as Ian Grillot (24), who tried to intervene, also received injuries in the firing at Austins Bar and Grill.
The shooter, Adam Purinton, reportedly got into an argument with the victims, and shouted “get out of my country” and “terrorist” before shooting them.
How it all started
Purinton reportedly provoked them into an argument, asking about their presence and their work in his country.
He left the bar after the argument and returned with a gun and shot the three men, while patrons were watching the University of Kansas-TCU basketball game on television.
The shooter was arrested on Thursday morning, five hours after the incident, and charged with murder and attempted murder.
The authorities declined at a news conference to say whether the shooting was a hate crime, although local police said they were working with the FBI to investigate the case. “It was a tragic and senseless act of violence,” Olathe police chief Steven Menke told reporters. The FBI has joined the local police in the investigation.
“The FBI is investigating to determine if the shooting of Kuchibhotla was a bias-motivated hate crime in violation of the victims’ civil rights,” Eric Jackson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City office, told reporters at a news conference.
Asked if the presence of the federal authorities indicated the shooting could be considered a hate crime, Jackson said it was too early to determine.
According to Garmin, Kuchibhotla and Madasani worked in the company’s aviation systems.
“Unfortunately, two associates on our Aviation Systems Engineering team, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, were shot. We are devastated to inform you that Srinivas passed away and Alok is currently recovering in the hospital,” Garmin said.
Kuchibhotla posted on LinkedIn in 2014 that he managed helicopter programmes. He had a master’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad. Friends of Kuchibhotla have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for sending his remains to India.
“Srini was the kindest person you would meet, full of love, care and compassion for everyone. He never uttered a word of hatred, a simple gossip, or a careless comment,” the fund-raising page said.
“His wife Sunayana and his family are now faced with incredible grief and a multitude of expenses,” it said.
Attempt to help
The 24-year old third victim, Grillot in an interview from the hospital, said he hid behind a table when Purinton opened fire. He counted the gunshots and when he thought the gunman was out of bullets, he jumped up to stop him, but Purinton still had one round left, and he used it to shoot Grillot.
The bullet went through his hand and into his chest. “I’m just very grateful that one of the gentlemen is fine and alive. It’s terrible what happened to his friend. But I think he was watching over us last night,” he said. Grillot said that he learned Madasani’s wife is five months pregnant and that he considers the engineer his new best friend.
The shooter, a navy veteran with an inactive pilot licence and air traffic controller certificate, told a bartender in Clinton, Missouri, where he was hiding after the shooting, that he had killed two Middle Eastern persons, local media reported.