911 call: Sus­pect said he killed 2 ‘Ira­nian peo­ple’

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - NATION & WORLD - The As­so­ci­ated Press

OLATHE, Kan. — A bar­tender at the restau­rant where a man was ar­rested last week for al­legedly shoot­ing two In­dian men at a bar told a 911 dis­patcher that the sus­pect ad­mit­ted shoot­ing two peo­ple, but de­scribed them as Ira­nian.

A record­ing from Henry County, Mo., 911 re­veals that the bar­tender­warned­po­lice not to ap­proach the build­ing with sirens blar­ing or the man would “freak out” and “some­thing bad’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

The man, Adam Pur­in­ton, 51, of Olathe, made his first ap­pear­ance in court Mon­day via video link. He has been charged with first­de­gree mur­der and first­de­gree at­tempted mur­der.

Ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses, Pur­in­ton yelled “get out of my coun­try” at two 32-yearold In­dian men, Srini­vas Kuchib­hotla and Alok Madasani, be­fore he opened fire at Austin’s Bar and Grill in the Kansas City sub­urb onWed­nes­day evening.

Kuchib­hotla was killed and Madasani in­jured. The two had come to the U.S. fromIn­dia to study, andthey worked as en­gi­neers at GPS maker Garmin. A third pa­tron, Ian Gril­lot, 24, was wounded when he tried to in­ter­vene.

Af­ter the shoot­ing, Pur­in­ton, who is white, drove 70 miles east to an Ap­ple­bee’s restau­rant in Clin­ton, Mo., where he made the shock­ing ad­mis­sion to the bar­tender.

In the 911 call, the bar­tender told the dis­patcher a man had come into the bar and said he’d done some­thing “re­ally bad” and was on the run fromthe po­lice.

“He asked if he could stay with me and my hus­band, and he wouldn’t tell me what he did. I kept ask­ing him, and he said that he would tell me if I agreed to let him stay with me,” the bar­tender said. “Well, I fi­nally got him to tell me and he­said, like, thatheshotand killed two Ira­nian peo­ple in Olathe.”

Au­thor­i­ties have de­clined to dis­cuss a pos­si­ble mo­tive for the at­tack or to sayif they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing it as a hate crime.

But the in­ci­dent has raised con­cern about the treat­ment of im­mi­grants, who feel tar­geted by Pres­i­dent Don­aldTrump’spromises to ban cer­tain trav­el­ers, build awall along theMex­ico bor­der and put “Amer­ica first.”

Dur­ing Mon­day’s hear­ing, John­son County District Judge Charles Droege ap­pointed pub­lic de­fender Michael McCul­loch to rep­re­sent Pur­in­ton. McCul­loch de­clined to com­ment on the case.

Pur­in­ton is jailed on $2 mil­lion bond, and his next court ap­pear­ance is set for March. 9.

Andy Berthelsen, a neigh­bor of Pur­in­ton’s for the past 15 years, said Pur­in­ton had been in rapid de­cline since the death of his fa­ther about 18 months ago. The two had been ex­cep­tion­ally close, Berthelsen said.

Pur­in­ton­was said to have drunk heav­ily af­ter his fa­ther’s death and to have bounced from one me­nial job to the next. Berthelsen said he’d never heard him make a racist re­mark or talk pol­i­tics.

He said he doesn’t be­lieve the shoot­ing stemmed from ha­tred and that it likely re­sulted fromPur­in­ton’s de­te­ri­o­ra­tion.

“This is some­one who’s gone down hill very quickly,” Berthelsen said.

The Univer­sity of Kansas Health Sys­tem re­leased a video Sun­day of an in­ter­view with Gril­lot, of Grand­view, Mo., whois re­cov­er­ing af­ter a bul­let went through his right hand and into his chest.

Gril­lot said he had to do some­thing be­cause there were fam­i­lies and chil­dren in the bar when the gun­fire erupted. Gril­lot, said he is grate­ful that the at­tack is bring­ing the com­mu­nity to­gether and that it is “awe­some hon­estly to be able to give peo­ple a hope that not ev­ery­body­hates ev­ery­body.”

JILL TOYOSHIBA/THE KANSAS CITY STAR

Adam Pur­in­ton, sus­pected of shoot­ing two In­dian men, one fa­tally, ap­pears in court Mon­day via a video link.

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