Slain In­dian man's mother wor­ried about son's safety

En­gi­neer killed in ‘racially mo­ti­vated’ crime comes home.

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Omer Fa­rooq

The mother of an In­dian en­gi­neer who was killed in an ap­par­ently racially mo­ti­vated shoot­ing in an Olathe, Kan., bar said she asked her son to come back to In­dia if he felt threat­ened in the United States, but that he told her he was not in any dan­ger.

Srini­vas Kuchib­hotla’s mother wailed Tues­day as her son’s body was cre­mated in his home­town of Hyderabad.

“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 fam- ily 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 32-year-old 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.”

Mean­while in the United States, the FBI said for the first time Tues­day that it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Feb. 22 at­tack as a hate crime. The agency said it is work­ing with fed­eral prose­cu­tors and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties but de­clined to elab­o­rate.

Also, the White House made its first com­ment on the killing, with spokes­woman Sarah San­ders say­ing the shoot­ing ap­peared to be “an act of racially moti- vated ha­tred.”

“I want to re­it­er­ate the pres­i­dent con­demns th­ese or any other racially or reli- giously mo­ti­vated at­tacks in the strong­est terms,” Sand- ers said, adding that he is “keep­ing the fam­ily of the vic­tim who was sense­lessly killed in his thoughts and prayers and pray­ing for the full and speedy re­cov­ery for those who were wounded.”

Kuchib­hotla’s body was flown to I ndia on Mon­day from Ne­wark, N.J. His widow, Su­naina Du­mala, look­ing daz e d, and his brother, Sai Ki­ran, who stud­ies in the United States, ar­rived on the same flight.

Hours later, the flower-laden body was taken in an open car­riage from to a cre­ma­to­rium in the Ju­bilee Hills area, where it was placed on a wooden pyre and burned as part of Hindu last rites.

Ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses, the gun­man yelled “get out of my coun­try” be­fore open- ing fire on Kuchib­hotla and his friend Alok Madasa­niat at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, a sub­urb of Kansas City. Both men worked as en­gi­neers at GPS de­vice- maker Garmin.

Madasani and an­other bar pa­tron, who tried to in­ter­vene, were wounded.

Adam Pur­in­ton of Olathe was later ar­rested at a bar in Mis­souri af­ter telling a bar- ten­der he had shot two peo- ple he de­scribed as Ira­nian. He re­mains jailed Tues­day on mur­der and at­tempted mur­der charges.

A mes­sage left for Michael McCul­loch, the chief pub- lic de­fender in John­son County, Kan., who is rep­re­sent­ing Pur­in­ton, was not re­turned.


A fam­ily mem­ber near Hyderabad, In­dia, waits for the ar­rival Tues­day of the body of Srini­vas Kuchib­hotla, seen in the photo. Kuchib­hotla was killed Feb. 22 in Olathe, Kan., by a gun­man who shouted “Get out of my coun­try.”

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