ISLAMOPHOBIA

Alleged Shooter to Indian-American Victims: ‘Get Out of My Country'

An alleged case of racist mistaken identity in Kansas left two injured and one dead.

A Kansas man allegedly shot two Indian-American men and a bystander after yelling anti-immigrant slurs Wednesday night.

Adam Purinton, 51, allegedly opened fire on the two Indian-American engineers in an Olathe, Kansas, bar, in an incident Kansas police say was premeditated. Purinton then left the bar and traveled to a nearby Applebee’s in Clinton, Missouri, where he allegedly remarked that he had shot two Middle Eastern men, and that he needed a place to hide.

Purinton confronted the men while drinking at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe around 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday. “Get out of my country,” Purinton allegedly told the two Indian-American men, according to at least one witness. Others told the Kansas City Star that he had been making racial slurs before he allegedly shot and killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injured Alok Madasani, who worked with Kuchibhotla at Garmin International. A bystander, Ian Grillot, attempted to intervene, and was shot non-fatally in the hand and shoulder.

Purinton then allegedly fled the scene, while police used helicopters and a K9 unit to search for a man they described as being in his early fifties. Meanwhile, Purinton reportedly crossed the Missouri border, and began drinking in the Applebee’s bar approximately five hours later. There, he allegedly told a bartender that he had murdered two Middle Eastern men and wanted to lay low. The bartender called police, who arrested Purinton. He was unarmed at the time of his arrest.

Police have since charged Purinton with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated murder. During a Thursday press conference, Johnson County district attorney Steve Howe said that officials were investigating whether the murders could be prosecuted as a hate crime, and whether Purinton had violated civil rights laws.

“This is so very fresh,” Howe said. “We don’t want to talk about things until we’re absolutely sure” of Purinton’s motive.

Purinton’s neighbors told the Star that he may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and may have been diagnosed with other serious illnesses. Public records show Purinton had a number of hunting licenses, suggesting he had access to a gun.

The two surviving victims reportedly suffered serious injuries. Madasani was “critically injured,” a GoFundMe account in his name claims. Grillot faces a “lengthy recovery,” his sisters wrote on his own GoFundMe page.

Garmin, the Olathe-based company where Kuchibhotla and Madasani worked as engineers, confirmed the casualties in an email to employees on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, two associates on our Aviation Systems Engineering team, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, were shot,” the company wrote. “We are devastated to inform you that Srinivas passed away and Alok is currently recovering in the hospital.”

Purinton is being held on a $2 million bond while investigators continue gathering information in his case.