Man who killed Indian computer engineer in Kansas bar indicted for hate crime

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 6:34am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 6:33am

A man accused in a bar shooting in suburban Kansas City that left one Indian national dead and another wounded was indicted by a federal grand jury on hate crime charges, the US Justice Department announced Friday.

The indictment against Adam Purinton, 52, of Olathe, Kansas, comes after a February 22 shooting at Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas. Witnesses have said Purinton, who is white, yelled “get out of my country” at two 32-year-old Indian nationals, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, before he began shooting. Kuchibhotla died and Madasani was injured. A third man, Ian Grillot, was wounded when he tried to intervene.

Indian engineer murdered as hate crime flares in Kansas

The shooting raised fears of more attacks on immigrants following President Donald Trump’s election and his push for a ban on immigrants from some countries. Officials in India also expressed concern about their citizens’ safety in the US, where many work in technology and other industries.

An affidavit released in March said Madasani told detectives that the gunman asked if their “status was legal” before he opened fire.

The indictment announced Friday alleges Purinton shot the two Indian men because of their “actual and perceived” race, colour, religion and national origin. The indictment also alleges Purinton committed the crimes after pre-meditation and planning, attempted to kill more than one person and created a grave risk of death to others at the scene. The indictment also accuses Purinton of violating federal firearms laws.

After the shooting, Purinton drove 70 miles east to an Applebee’s restaurant in Clinton, Missouri, where he allegedly admitted the shootings to a bartender, who called police.

The Justice Department said in a news release Friday that it would determine later whether Purinton should face the death penalty.

Kuchibhotla and Madasani had come to the US from India to study and worked as engineers at GPS-maker Garmin.

Purinton is jailed in Johnson County, Kansas, on US$2 million bond on murder and attempted murder charges.

His public defender, Michael McCulloch, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.