Prosecutors on Thursday charged a 51-year-old man with murder and attempted murder after they say he opened fire in a crowded suburban Kansas City bar, killing one man and injuring two others, but authorities declined to say whether the attack was racially motivated.
A bartender at Austins Bar and Grill in Oathe, Kan., said Adam Purinton used "racial slurs" before he started shooting Wednesday night as patrons were watching a University of Kansas basketball game on television.
The Kansas City Star, citing witnesses, reported that the suspect uttered racial slurs and yelled "get out of my country" before he opened fire.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died at a hospital, police said.
Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24, were hospitalized and are in stable condition, police said.
Witnesses said Grillot had stepped in and tried to stop the shooter. The Linked-in accounts for Kuchibhotla and Madasani say they were engineers working at GPS-maker Garmin, and that they had studied in India.
Bartender Garret Bohnen told the Kansas City Star that Kuchibhotla and Madasani stopped at Austins for a drink once or twice a week.
"From what I understand, when he was throwing racial slurs at the two gentlemen [Kuchibhotla and Madasani], Ian [Grillot] stood up for them," Bohnen said. "We're all proud of him."
Olathe Police Chief Steve Menke declined to comment on the reports of racial comments, but said they were working with the FBI "to investigate any and all aspects of this horrific crime."
Purinton was taken into custody just after midnight Thursday at an Applebee's about 70 miles southeast of Olathe, in Clinton, Mo., authorities said.
Assistant Clinton Police Chief Sonny Lynch said an Applebee's bartender called police because Purinton told him he had been involved in a shooting. The unarmed Purinton was taken into custody and interviewed by detectives from Olathe.
"He mentioned he had been involved in a shooting, and we went out there and picked him up," Lynch said.