Peo­ple re­act to shoot­ing

Kansas gun­fire in bar kills In­dian man; vic­tim’s fa­ther calls at­tack hate crime

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - AP/ORLIN WAG­NER

Su­nayana Du­mala holds her heart Fri­day while talk­ing about her late hus­band, Srini­vas Kuchib­hotla, dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at Garmin Head­quar­ters in Olathe, Kan. Wit­nesses say 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.

OLATHE, Kan. — In the mid­dle of a crowded bar, Adam Pur­in­ton yelled at two In­dian men to “get out of my coun­try,” wit­nesses said, then opened fire 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 51-year-old for­mer air traf­fic con­troller 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 fa­ther of one of the wounded men called Wed­nes­day’s at­tack in the Kansas City sub­urbs a hate crime, but au­thor­i­ties on Fri­day de­clined to dis­cuss a mo­tive as they in­ves­ti­gated the shoot­ing. It swiftly stoked fears about the treat­ment of immigrants, who feel tar­geted by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s prom­ises to ban cer­tain trav­el­ers, build a wall along the Mex­ico bor­der and put “Amer­ica first.”

The slain man was iden­ti­fied as Srini­vas Kuchib­hotla, 32. His widow said he came to the U.S. in 2005 to pur­sue a mas­ter’s de­gree at the Univer­sity of Texas at El Paso and worked in Iowa for six years be­fore mov­ing to the Kansas City area.

“He did not de­serve a death like this,” Su­nayana Du­mala said Fri­day at a news con­fer­ence or­ga­nized by her hus­band’s em­ployer, the GPS de­vice- maker Garmin. “I don’t know what to say. We’ve read many times in news­pa­pers of some kind of shoot­ing hap­pen­ing some­where. I was al­ways con­cerned, ‘ Are we do­ing the right thing stay­ing in the U.S. or Amer­ica.’ But he al­ways as­sured me good things hap­pen in Amer­ica.”

Though she did not men­tion Trump by name, she di­rected anger at the U.S. gov­ern­ment, ask­ing what of­fi­cials would do to stop hate crimes.

“Not ev­ery­one is a Mus­lim,” she said, de­scrib­ing her­self as Hindu, “Not ev­ery­one will be harm­ful to this coun­try.”

Pur­in­ton was jailed on mur­der and at­tempted-mur­der charges. His first court ap­pear­ance was sched­uled for Mon­day.

The In­dian gov­ern­ment said its diplo­mats would mon­i­tor the Kansas in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A bar­tender at Austins Bar and Grill in the sub­urb of Olathe said Pur­in­ton used ra­cial slurs be­fore fir­ing. He was taken into cus­tody about five hours later af­ter speak­ing with an­other bar­tender at an Ap­ple­bee’s some 70 miles away in Clin­ton, Mo.

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

The other men shot were iden­ti­fied as Alok Madasani, 32, who was re­leased from the hos­pi­tal Thurs­day, and Ian Gril­lot, 24, who re­mained hos­pi­tal­ized.

Madasani’s fa­ther, Jaganmohan Reddy, said he had spo­ken with his wounded son over the phone and is wor­ried about his safety.

“I re­quest other par­ents to think twice be­fore send­ing their chil­dren to the United States,” he said.

The LinkedIn ac­counts for Kuchib­hotla and Madasani de­scribe them as en­gi­neers for 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.

Po­lice were work­ing with the FBI. Spokesman Brid­get Pat­ton said the agency’s role is to help de­ter­mine if a civil-rights vi­o­la­tion oc­curred.

Pur­in­ton, who is be­ing held in lieu of a $2 mil­lion bond, was moved Fri­day from Mis­souri to Kansas. Be­cause he has not yet ap­peared in court, he did not have an at­tor­ney for­mally as­signed to his case.

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.”

An­other neigh­bor, Michael Shimeall, told the Star that Pur­in­ton seemed friendly and never showed a tem­per “or any­thing like that.”

He re­called that Pur­in­ton was help­ful with neigh­bors when they had to dig out af­ter snow­storms or pick up a blown-down tree. He said Pur­in­ton had photos of the ships he served on in the Navy and other Navy items in his home.

Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion records from the 1990s in­di­cate that Pur­in­ton was a pi­lot and was li­censed to work in an air­port con­trol tower. Agency spokesman El­iz­a­beth Isham Cory said Pur­in­ton left the FAA 17 years ago in 2000.


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