“Get out of my country” were the last words Srinivas Kuchibhotla heard before he was killed. A University of Texas graduate, Kuchibotla worked as an aviation engineer for Garmin in Olathe, Kansas. He left a widow at 32 years old.
Kuchibhotla was shot alongside 32-year-old Alok Madasani, and 24-year-old Ian Grillot at Austins Bar & Grill on Wednesday night as patrons gathered to watch the University of Kansas basketball game.
Witnesses recount that Adam Purinton pulled out a gun, and started shooting at Kuchibhotla and Madasani, while telling them to “get out of my country.” Purinton was arrested five hours later at an Applebee’s across state lines after he told a bartender that he had killed two Middle Eastern men and needed a place to hide. Purinton, a Navy veteran, has been charged with one count of first-degree murder, and two charges of attempted first-degree murder according to prosecutors. Purinton later told the police that he mistook the Indian men for Middle Eastern men.
He is currently being held on a $2 million bond while the investigation into the hate-crime continues. Olathe Police Chief Steven Menke said that the attack “was a tragic and senseless act of violence.”
While Kuchibhotla died at the hospital after the shooting, Madasani amd Grillot remain critically injured. Grillot had tried to intervene after he believed that all of the ammunition had been expelled from Purinton’s gun. “It wasn’t right, and I didn’t want the gentleman to potentially go after somebody else,” Grillot said.
The Council on American-Islamic relations is urging that Purinton be charged with a hate crime, while the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office continue the investigation. “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,” CAIR Kansas Board Chair of CAIR, Moussa Elbayoumy, said. He added that two southwest Kansas men were just sentenced in federal court after attacking three Somali-Muslims in Dodge City in 2015, adding to the tense climate in the state.