2017 Olathe, Kansas shooting
|2017 Olathe, Kansas shooting|
Austins Bar and Grill|
Olathe, Kansas, US
February 22, 2017 |
7:15 p.m (CST)
|Target||Indian immigrant workers|
|Shooting, hate crime|
On February 22, 2017, Adam Purinton, shot two Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, whom he had mistaken for Iranians, at a restaurant in Olathe, Kansas, killing Kuchibhotla. He reportedly yelled "get out of my country" and "terrorist" before firing. A third man, Ian Grillot, was wounded after he came to the two men's aid. Several hours later, Purinton was arrested in Clinton, Missouri.
According to witness accounts, the incident, at Austin's Bar and Grill at Mur-Len Shops, began as patrons were watching a basketball game; a man started yelling racial slurs at the victims, asking them whether their "status was legal". The man had been escorted from the premises after he was confronted by restaurant staff and other guests, but returned later with a gun and began firing. He reportedly told the two targeted victims—South Indian men who work for Garmin, a technology firm—to "get out of my country" before firing. Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old white American was shot and suffered multiple bullet wounds as he came to the victims' aid.
The suspect, Adam Purinton, was arrested while drinking at a restaurant bar in Clinton, Missouri, about 82 miles (132 km) away. He had attracted the barman's attention by saying he needed a place to hide because he had just killed two Middle Eastern men.
Adam Purinton, 51, was arrested for the killing. After fleeing the bar, he was pursued by police in the Kansas City area who also went to his home. He eluded them, but was arrested after he was said to have admitted to "killing two Middle Eastern men [sic]" at a bar to which he had fled, 82 miles from the scene of the crimes. Purinton was said to have been a drinker whose alcohol consumption increased and whose behavior rapidly deteriorated after the death of his father, 18 months before the crimes. Prior to his arrest, he had recently held a series of unskilled jobs including in hardware and liquor stores and as a dishwasher in a pizza parlor. He is a United States Navy veteran, had been an air traffic controller, and previously worked in information technology.
Purinton was charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He was held in the Johnson County jail, with his bond set at $2 million. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years. His preliminary hearing was initially scheduled for September 18; then postponed to January 2018. In November Purington waived his right to a preliminary hearing and was arraigned on one count of first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, initially entering a not guilty plea..
Purinton later pleaded guilty to the state charges of murder and attempted murder on March 6, 2018. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility for parole for the murders on May 4, 2018.
Purinton later pleaded guilty to federal hate-crime charges, thereby avoiding a death sentence, and will be sentenced on July 2, 2018.
Garmin later issued a public statement about the incident: "We’re saddened that two Garmin associates were involved in [the] incident, and we express our condolences to the family and friends of our co-workers involved. Garmin will have grievance counselors on-site and available for its associates today and tomorrow."
The families of victims initially have blamed the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, for the incident. When asked by reporters whether "rhetoric that the President or—that generally has been out here recently could have contributed in any way", White House press secretary Sean Spicer stated, "I mean, obviously, any loss of life is tragic, but I'm not going to get into, like, that kind of—to suggest that there’s any correlation I think is a bit absurd. So I’m not going to go any further than that.
The incident was condemned by several American lawmakers and civil rights groups. US Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas posted a statement on Facebook about the shooting, expressing concern for the safety of other immigrants. Later President Trump, who condemned the attack at the beginning of his address to a joint session of Congress said that "Recent threats ( ... ), as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms".
The victim Kuchibhotla's widow, Sunayana Dumala, faced deportation since her visa was tied to that of her husband's H-1B temporary highly skilled worker visa status, but proceedings have been stayed. In January 2018, she received an H-1B visa of her own.
- Anti-Middle Eastern sentiment
- Anti-Indian sentiment
- 2016 Minneapolis shooting
- 2017 Portland train attack
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