An Indian engineer was shot dead and two others were injured on Thursday by an American. The American man opened fire at them after allegedly yelling “get out of my country”. Local police called it as a “possible hate crime”.
The victim Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32 worked at the Garmin headquarters in Olathe. The two others who were seriously injured were identified as Aloke Madasani, another Indian and the victim’s colleague and the other Ian Grillot.
Garmin reported that Kuchibhotla and Madasani worked in the company’s aviation system.
Olathe Police Chief Steven Menke told reporters, “It was a tragic and senseless act of violence.”
Five hours after the incident, police on Thursday morning arrested the accused Adam Purinton. Kansas City Star said Purinton, the navy veteran was in a bar around 140 kms away in Clinton, Missouri and told a bartender that he killed two men from the Middle East and needed a hiding place. The bartender then called the police.
After the incident, two senior officers of the Indian Consulate in Houston was sent to Kansas to support the victim’s family.
The consulate tweeted, “Consul Ravindra Joshi and Vice Consul Harpal Singh rushed to Kansas to assist shooting victim. They are on their way and will reach by evening.”
Purinton has been charged with planned first-degree murder and his bond has been set at USD 2 million.
In a statement, Garmin said, “We’re saddened that two Garmin associates were involved in last night’s (Wednesday night) incident, and we express our condolences to the family and friends of our co-workers involved. Garmin will have grievance counsellors on-site and available for its associates today and tomorrow.”
The hate crime incident shocked the Indian-Americans and Indian community in the US. Director of Government Relations at Hindu American Foundation, Jay Kansara said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Srinivas Kuchibhotla. We are also praying for a speedy recovery for the injured. We call upon the US Department of Justice and local law enforcement to investigate this murder as what it is, a hate crime. Anything less will be an injustice to the victims and their families.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to raise funds for sending Kuchibhotla’s remains to India.