|Shooting victims Alok Madasani, left, and Srinivas Kuchibhotia.|
TWO ENGINEERS from India were shot in a Kansas bar Wednesday night (Feb. 22) after a man who mistook them as Middle Eastern, allegedly told them to "get out of my country."
One man died, the second man was wounded and a third bar patron was wounded when he confronted the suspected shooter, Adam W. Purinton, 51
The body of the man who was slain, Srinivas Kuchibhotia, will be transported to the city of Hyderabad, India, where his family lives, said Sushma Swararaj, India's external affairs minister.
Alok Madasani, 32, of Overland Park, was treated for his wounds and released from the hospital. Another bar patron, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, remained in the hospital while he recovers.
The two men from India were both engineers on the aviation systems team at the technology company Garmin.
According to witnesses, Madasani and Kuchibhotia were drinking in Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas, when Puritan began harassing them. Puriton's actions were so bad that he reportedly was kicked out of the bar. Upon his return he opened fire.
Purinton fled the bar but appeared at another bar In Clinton, Mo. later in the evening. He asked the bartender for a place to hide because he had just shot two Middle Eastern men. The bartender called police and Purinton was arrested.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe announced in a press conference Thursday that Purinton will be charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
He was joined by federal law enforcement officials who said that they are investigating in conjunction with Olathe police to determine if the shooting was a bias-motivated hate crime in violation of the victims’ civil rights.
A GoFundMe page set up for the victims identified the man who was killed as Srinivas Kuchibhotla. According to the page, which was set up by a friend, the shooter had been drunk and "hurling racial slurs" before the attack. By Friday (Feb. 24) morning, the page had raised $260,000
"Srini was the kindest person you would meet, full of love, care and compassion for everyone," the page reads. "He never uttered a word of hatred, a simple gossip, or a careless comment. He was brilliant, well-mannered and simply an outstanding human being. His wife, Sunayana, and his family are now faced with incredible grief and a multitude of expenses."
The Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Thursday called for prosecutors to file hate crime charges against Purinton at both the state and federal level.
“Because of the alleged bias motive for this deadly attack, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to consider filing hate crime charges in order to send a strong message that violence targeting religious or ethnic minorities will not be tolerated,” said CAIR-Kansas Board Chair Moussa Elbayoumy.