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Man who fatally shot an immigrant in Kansas bar in what prosecutors called a hate crime sentenced to life in prison

Man who fatally shot an immigrant in Kansas bar in what prosecutors called a hate crime sentenced to life in prison
Adam Purinton in Olathe, Kan., in 2017. (David Eulitt / Associated Press)

A Kansas man who opened fire in a suburban Kansas City bar, killing an immigrant from India and wounding two other men, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to three consecutive life prison sentences for what federal prosecutors said was a hate crime.

Adam Purinton, 53, of Olathe did not speak in court Tuesday as he was sentenced for the Feb. 22, 2017, shooting at Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe that killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a citizen of India who had stopped at the bar with a co-worker, Alok Madasani, both 32, for an after-work drink.

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The shooting raised concerns that immigrants were facing more harassment after the election of President Trump and prompted officials in India to question whether their citizens were safe in the U.S.

Witnesses said Purinton was asked to leave the bar after he verbally harassed Kuchibhotla and Madasani, at one point yelling, “Get out of my country.” He later returned with a handgun and fired several times at the two men, killing Kuchibhotla and wounding Madasani. A third man who tried to intervene, Ian Grillot, also was wounded.

Purinton was arrested later in Missouri after he told a bartender he was running from police because of the shooting.

He pleaded guilty to federal hate-crime charges in May, in a deal that allowed him to avoid the death penalty. His sentence on Tuesday will run consecutively to another life sentence Purinton previously received for first-degree murder in Johnson County District Court in Kansas.

Prosecutors read a statement that Sunayana Dumala, Kuchibhotla's widow, had addressed to Purinton.

“Srinu and I came to the United States of America full of dreams and aspirations…. Now, my American Dream — and that of Srinu's — is broken,” she wrote. “If you could have kept your anger inside and spoke to my husband softly, Srinu would have been more than happy to share his background and help you understand that not every brown-skinned person is suspicious or evil, but kind, smart and contributing to America. Instead you chose to rage and bully in anger and when you were stopped, you decided to take their lives.”

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions said in a statement that Purinton's crimes were “detestable.”

“The defendant acted with clear premeditation in murdering one man, and attempting to murder a second man, simply because of their race, religion and national origin,” according to the statement. “As a result, a promising young life has been tragically cut short, and other lives have been filled with suffering. Securing this sentence is important not only to the victims and their loved ones, but also to our justice system and our nation as a whole.”

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