Kansas community tries to heal from shooting; bar to reopen

Kansas community tries to heal from shooting; bar to reopen

In the middle of a crowded bar, Adam Purinton yelled at two Indian men to "get out of my country," witnesses said, then opened fire in an attack that killed one of the men and wounded the other, as well as a third man who tried to help.

Hours later, the 51-year-old former air traffic controller reportedly told a bartender in another town that he needed a place to hide because he had just killed two Middle Eastern men.

In India, the father of one of the wounded men called Wednesday's attack in the Kansas City suburbs a hate crime, but authorities yesterday declined to discuss a motive as they investigated.

The shooting swiftly stoked fears about the treatment of immigrants, who feel targeted by President Donald Trump's promises to ban certain travelers, build a wall along the Mexico border and put "America first."

The president has been especially vocal about the threat posed by Islamic terrorist groups. Both of the Indian men were Hindu. The slain man was identified as Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32. His widow said he came to the US in 2005 to pursue a master's degree at the University of Texas at El Paso and worked in Iowa for six years before moving to the Kansas City area.

"He did not deserve a death like this," Sunayana Dumala said yesterday at a news conference organised by her husband's employer, the GPS device-maker Garmin.

"I don't know what to say. We've read many times in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening somewhere. I was always concerned, 'Are we doing the right thing staying in the US or America?' But he always assured me good things happen in America."

Though she did not mention Trump by name, she directed anger at the US government, asking what officials would do to stop hate crimes. "Not everyone will be harmful to this country," she said. Purinton was jailed on murder and attempted murder charges. His first court appearance was scheduled for Monday.

A bartender at Austins Bar and Grill in the suburb of Olathe said Purinton used racial slurs before firing. He was taken into custody about five hours later after speaking with another bartender at an Applebee's some 70 miles away in Clinton, Missouri.

The Kansas City Star reported Purinton's comments to the second bartender. The paper did not cite its sources. The other men who were shot were identified as 32-year-old Alok Madasani, who was released from the hospital Thursday, and 24-year-old Ian Grillot, who remained hospitalised.

At the time of the attack, bar patrons were watching a college basketball game on television. When Purinton began harassing the two men, Grillot "stood up for them," bartender Garret Bohnen told The Star.

Kuchibhotla was from the southern state of Telangana, and his body was to be transported to the capital city of Hyderabad, where his family lives. Mourners poured into Hyderabad. His parents have another son working in the United States.

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