FBI investigates Kansas bar shooting as hate crime

Shooting suspect Adam Purinton after a court hearing.
(Jill Toyoshiba / Associated Press)

The FBI said for the first time that it is investigating as a hate crime last week’s Kansas bar shooting that killed an Indian man and wounded another.

The FBI said in a statement Tuesday that it bases that probe on “the initial investigative activity” involving the Feb. 22 attack at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kan.

The FBI is declining additional comment, citing the investigation.


Witnesses to the shooting said 51-year-old suspect Adam Purinton yelled “get out of my country” at 32-year-olds Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani before opening fire.

Kuchibhotla was killed and Madasani was wounded. Both were working as engineers for GPS device-maker Garmin.

Another bar patron who tried to intervene also was wounded.

Purinton is charged with murder and attempted murder.

Meanwhile, Kuchibhotla’s body was cremated in his hometown of Hyderabad, India, on Tuesday.

Kuchibhotla’s mother said she asked her son to come back to India if he felt threatened in the United States, but he said he was not in any danger.

“I had asked him to return to India if he was feeling insecure there. But he used to say he was safe and secure,” Parvatha Vardhini said.

Now she wants her younger son and his family to come home from the U.S. “I will not allow them to go back,” she said. “My son had gone there in search of a better future. What crime did he commit?”

Hundreds of grieving relatives and friends tearfully mourned the man who arrived in the U.S. in 2005 to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Texas at El Paso.

“It is so cruel. He was such a kind soul, very friendly. He was so excited that he and his wife were going to start a family soon. Now this has happened,” said P. L. Narayana, his uncle.

His father, Madhusudhan Rao, was philosophical: “I believe in destiny. Whatever was destined has happened.”

He added, “Now I want the U.S. government to take care of the security of our Indians who are working there.”

A statement issued Tuesday by the Indian External Affairs Ministry said American authorities “are engaged with us on the larger concern regarding safety of Indians in the U.S., a matter which continues to receive the government’s top priority.”


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