After a shooting in an Olathe, Kansas bar on Wednesday left one man dead and two others injured, the FBI is investigating whether the attack was a hate crime.
The alleged shooter, identified as Adam W. Purinton, reportedly yelled “get out of my country” before opening fire at two Indian men in the crowded bar Wednesday night, according to the Kansas City Star.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla died in the hospital later that night. Kuchibhotla was originally from India and worked as an engineer for the navigation system company, Garmin. Alok Madasani, Kuchibhotla’s friend who is Indian and also works for Garmin, was injured and was released from the hospital on Thursday.
Ian Grillot, who is white, attempted to stop the gunman and was shot in the hand and the chest, according to CNN. He allegedly intervened after he heard Purinton expressing racist slurs.
After the shooting, Purinton fled and five hours later attempted to hide in a Missouri restaurant. The Kansas City Star reported that Purinton told the restaurant’s bartender that he needed a place to hide, saying he had killed two Middle Eastern men. The bartender called the police and Purinton was arrested.
Purinton was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder. His bond has been set at $2 million.
Given the several alleged racist and hateful statements voiced by Purinton, federal law enforcement officials, including FBI agents, are investigating the shooting as a possible bias-motivated hate crime.
The FBI agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City office, Erik K. Jackson told the New York Times, “Our role in this investigation is to work jointly with local law enforcement to determine if an individual’s civil rights were violated.... It’s not uncommon for hate crime investigations to be conducted jointly by the FBI and local law enforcement and prosecuted under the state law.”
The Indian government has also commented on the shooting, expressing shock at the possible hate crime.
India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj expressed condolences on Twitter: “I am shocked at the shooting incident in Kansas in which Srinivas Kuchibhotla has been killed. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved family.” Swaraj said she has spoken with Kuchibhotla’s family and will help make arrangements to transport Kuchibhotla’s body to India.
Madasani’s father, Madasani Jaganmohan Reddy, who lives in India, said he urged his son to return home after US President Donald Trump’s election in an article published by the Hindustan Times. “The situation seems to be pretty bad after Trump took over as the US President. I appeal to all the parents in India not to send their children to the US in the present circumstances,” said Madasani.