32-year-old Indian engineer was killed and two other men were injured after an American man reported to be heard yelling “get out of my country” opened fire on them in a crowded bar in Kansas City Wednesday evening. The United States has seen a rise in alleged racially-motivated hate crime off-late.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla (32), who was working at GPS-maker Garmin headquarters in Olathe, was killed while another Indian, his colleague at work, Alok Madasani was critically injured. A third person, an American man identified as Ian Grillot who tried to intervene also received injuries in the firing in Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe.
The shooter, 51-year-old Adam Purinton, a Navy-veteran, has been arrested and charged with first-degree homicide by the authorities.
According to reports, the shooter got into an argument with the victims in the terms of racism, and shouted “get out of my country”, “terrorist” before shooting them. He reportedly provoked them into argument asking their presence and work in US and how they are better than him.
According to police, Purinton left the bar after the argument and then returned with a gun and shot the three men while they were watching the University of Kansas-TCU basketball game on the TV set in the bar.
On the run and hiding, the shooter was finally arrested on Thursday morning, five hours after the incident and charged with murder and attempted murder.
The authorities have, however, not yet officially confirm if 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.
In New Delhi, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj expressed shock over the incident and said two Indian Embassy officials have been rushed to Kansas to render all possible assistance.
“I am shocked at the shooting incident in Kansas in which Srinivas Kuchibhotla has been killed. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved family,” she tweeted.
“I have spoken to Indian Ambassador in US Mr Navtej Sarna. He informed me that two Indian Embassy officials have rushed to Kansas,” she said.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Kuchibhotla and Madasani hailed from Hyderabad and Warangal, and were working at Garmin in Olathe (Kansas).
“The Indian Embassy officials will meet the injured and facilitate in bringing the mortal remains of the deceased and will be in touch with local police officials to ascertain more details of the incident and monitor follow up action. They will also meet the community members in Kansas,” Swarup said.
According to Garmin, Kuchibhotla and Madasani worked in the company’s aviation systems.
“We’re saddened that two Garmin associates were involved in last night’s (Wednesday night) incident, and we express our condolences to the family and friends of our co-workers involved. Garmin will have grievance counsellors on-site and available for its associates today and tomorrow,” Garmin said in a statement.
(With inputs from the Agencies)