Wit­nesses: Gun­man shouted ‘get out of my coun­try’

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - JIM SUHR

Wit­nesses said a man ac­cused of open­ing fire in a crowded bar yelled at two In­dian men to “get out of my coun­try” be­fore pulling the trig­ger in an at­tack that killed one of the men and wounded the other, as well as a third man who tried to help.

Hours later, the sus­pect re­port­edly told a bar­tender in an­other town that he needed a place to hide be­cause he had just killed two Mid­dle East­ern men.

In In­dia, the f ather of one of the wounded men called the at­tack a hate crime but au­thor­i­ties on Fri­day de­clined to dis­cuss a mo­tive as they in­ves­ti­gated the shoot­ing. The at­tack stoked fears about the na­tion’s treat­ment of im­mi­grants, who feel tar­geted by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s prom­ises to ban cer­tain trav­ellers, build a wall along the Mex­ico bor­der and put “Amer­ica First.”

Adam Pur­in­ton, 51, was charged with mur­der and at­tempted mur­der in the Wednesday night shoot­ing in the Kansas City sub­urb of Olathe.

A bar­tender at Austins Bar and Grill said Pur­in­ton used racial slurs be­fore fir­ing. He was taken into cus­tody about five hours later af­ter speak­ing with a bar­tender at an Ap­ple­bee’s some 112 kms away in Clin­ton, Mis­souri.

The Kansas City Star re­ported Pur­in­ton’s com­ments to the bar­tender. The paper did not cite its sources.

The men who were shot were iden­ti­fied as Srini­vas Kuchib­hotla, 32, who died at a hospi­tal, and 32year-old Alok Madasani and 24year-old Ian Gril­lot, who were hos­pi­tal­ized, po­lice said.

Madasani was re­leased from the hospi­tal Thurs­day.

The LinkedIn ac­counts for Kuchib­hotla and Madasani de­scribe them as en­gi­neers for GPS de­vice­maker Garmin, which has its main cam­pus just a mile from the scene of the shoot­ing. The com­pany is one of the re­gion’s best-known em­ploy­ers.

The In­dian gov­ern­ment said its diplo­mats would mon­i­tor the inves- tiga­tion in Kansas.

FBI spokesman Brid­get Pat­ton said the agency had no new in­for­ma­tion to re­lease Fri­day. She said the FBI’s role is to work jointly with Olathe po­lice to de­ter­mine if a civil rights vi­o­la­tion oc­curred.

Bar­tender Gar­ret Bohnen told the Kansas City Star that Kuchib­hotla and Madasani stopped at Austins for a drink once or twice a week. At the time of the at­tack, pa­trons were watch­ing a col­lege bas­ket­ball game on tele­vi­sion.

“From what I un­der­stand, when he was throw­ing racial slurs at the two gen­tle­men, Ian (Gril­lot) stood up for them,” Bohnen said. “We’re all proud of him.”

Wit­nesses also told the Star about Pur­in­ton’s yelling about leav­ing the coun­try. When the gun­fire be­gan, Gril­lot hid un­der a ta­ble un­til nine shots had been fired. Believ­ing the sus­pect’s mag­a­zine was empty, he then chased the gun­man in hopes of sub­du­ing him.

“I guess I mis­counted with ev­ery­thing go­ing on. And I got be­hind him, and he turned around and fired a round at me,” Gril­lot said Thurs­day from his hospi­tal bed in a video from the Univer­sity of Kansas Health Sys­tem.

Gril­lot said the bul­let went through his right hand and into his chest, just miss­ing a ma­jor artery but frac­tur­ing a ver­te­bra i n his neck.

“An­other half inch, I could be dead or never walk again,” said Gril­lot, who was wear­ing a neck brace. His in­jured hand re­mains im­mo­bi­lized.

He did not de­scribe what led to the shoot­ing, say­ing only that he felt com­pelled to in­ter­vene in the in­ter­est of hu­man­ity, “not about where he (the vic­tim) was from or his eth­nic­ity.”

“I was just do­ing what any­one should have done for an­other hu­man be­ing,” he said. Madasani vis­ited him in the hospi­tal, and they have be­come friends be­cause of their shared or­deal.

“We’re def­i­nitely go­ing to be spend­ing a lit­tle time to­gether,” Gril­lot said. “I don’t think it’s go­ing to be at the bar, though. Maybe some grilling in the back­yard with a beer or two.”

Pur­in­ton, who is jailed on $2 mil­lion bond, was moved Fri­day from Mis­souri to Kansas. Be­cause he has not yet ap­peared in court, Pur­in­ton did not yet have an at­tor­ney for­mally as­signed. His first court ap­pear­ance was sched­uled for Monday.

Beverly Mor­ris, who has lived next door to Pur­in­ton in Olathe for about 20 years, said he never made her feel un­safe. “He seemed like a good guy,” Mor­ris said, but “any­body who knew him knew he had a drink­ing prob­lem.”

Olathe Po­lice Sgt. Lo­gan Bon­ney said of­fi­cers were in­ter­view­ing and re-in­ter­view­ing wit­nesses Fri­day to shore up the case.

“We want to present the best case pos­si­ble and sep­a­rate fact from fic­tion for the ben­e­fit of the vic­tims and the com­mu­nity,” he said.

In In­dia, the at­tack sent shock waves through the home­towns of the two In­dian men. The In­dian gov­ern­ment said Kuchib­hotla was from the south­ern state of Te­lan­gana, and his body was to be trans­ported to the cap­i­tal city of Hy­der­abad, where his fam­ily lives.

His par­ents were un­able to talk af­ter re­ceiv­ing word of his death. They have an­other son work­ing in the United States.

HENRY COUNTY, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

An un­dated photo of sus­pect Adam Pur­in­ton from the Henry County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice in Clin­ton, Mo.

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