FBI investigating shooting at Kansas bar that killed Indian man as possible hate crime
OLATHE, Kan. — The FBI has joined an investigation to determine whether a shooting that killed one man and injured two others at a crowded bar in Kansas is a hate crime.
Adam W. Purinton, 51, allegedly opened fire Wednesday night at the bar in Olathe, killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, police said in a statement.
The victim’s friend, Alok Madasani, 32, and bar patron Ian Grillot, 24, suffered injuries, authorities said. Madasani and Kuchibhotla are engineers at Garmin, and are originally from India, according to The Kansas City Star.
Purinton has been charged with one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder. His bond has been set at $2 million. It’s unclear whether he’s retained a lawyer or entered a plea.
Witnesses say Purinton told the men to “get out of my country” before he shot them, the paper reported.
During a news conference Thursday, authorities declined to comment on whether the shooting might be considered a hate crime.
The incident started when the suspect got agitated at the bar, where patrons were watching a basketball game, Grillot said.
While he did not provide specifics on what the suspect was doing, witnesses told local media they heard him yell “get out of my country” during the incident.
Police have not corroborated the statements.
“I opened the door and was like, ‘I’m going to have to ask you to leave, sir. There’s no reason to act like that around this bar. This is a family restaurant,’ ” Grillot told CNN affiliate KMBC.
The suspect left, only to return shortly afterward and start firing rounds, he said.
“I thought all the trouble was over with, and we were all just sitting and watching the game minding our own business,” Grillot told the affiliate.
In addition to the two friends, Grillot was shot in the hand and chest as he tried to stop the gunman.
“I thought his magazine was empty. So I got up and started chasing him down. I tried to subdue him so that police could come in and do what they needed to do and I guess I miscounted with everything going on. I got behind him. And he turned around and fired a round at me,” he told the affiliate.
The suspect fled on foot as police closed in, the newspaper reported.
Police provided first aid to the three men until paramedics arrived and took them to the hospital, where one of the victims later died, Olathe Police reported in a statement.
India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that Madasani has been released from hospital. Grillot is still hospitalized.
A search for motive
Nearly six hours after the shooting, Purinton was arrested about 70 miles away at a bar in Clinton, Missouri, according to The Kansas City Star.
FBI’s Eric Jackson said they are working to determine the suspect’s motive and whether the shooting is a civil rights violation or a hate crime.
Thousands of miles away in India, officials expressed shock at the shooting.
“My heartfelt condolences to bereaved family,” Swaraj, the external affairs minister, tweeted. “I have assured all help and assistance to the family.”
India has sent two embassy officials to Kansas to help arrange for the transportation of Kuchibhotla’s remains.