He Shouted “Get Out Of My Country!” Before He Killed
24 Feb, 2017
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 on Friday 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 U.S. 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 Friday at a news conference organized 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 U.S. or America?’ But he always assured me good things happen in America.”
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 hospitalized.
Madasani’s father, Jaganmohan Reddy, said he had spoken with his wounded son by phone from India and was worried about his safety.
“I request other parents to think twice before sending their children to the United States,” he said.
As engineers for Garmin, Kuchibhotla and Madasani worked at the company’s main campus just a mile from the scene of the shooting. Garmin is one of the region’s best-known employers.
Local police were working with the FBI. Spokeswoman Bridget Patton said the federal agency’s role is to help determine if a civil rights violation occurred.
Purinton, who is being held on $2 million bond, was moved Friday from Missouri to Kansas. Because he has not yet appeared in court, he did not have an attorney formally assigned to his case.
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.
Witnesses also told the newspaper about Purinton’s yelling about leaving the country.
As the gunfire began, Grillot hid under a table until nine shots had been fired. Believing the suspect’s magazine was empty, he chased the gunman in hopes of subduing him.
A bullet went through his right hand and into his chest, just missing a major artery but fracturing a vertebra in Grillot’s neck.
“Another half inch, I could be dead or never walk again,” he said Thursday from his hospital bed in a video from the University of Kansas Health System.
He did not describe what led to the shooting, saying only that he felt compelled to intervene to help others.
“I was just doing what anyone should have done for another human being,” he said.
The Indian government said its diplomats would monitor the Kansas investigation. 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.