An Indian man was killed and two others injured in Kansas, Olathe, after an American man shot them after allegedly yelling “get out of my country” in what local police are calling a “possible hate crime”.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed in the shooting. His colleague Alok Madasani was critically injured and is battling for his life at the hospital, DNA reports. Another man identified as Ian Grillot was also injured in the shooting.
The Kansas City Star reports that 51-year-old Olathe man, Adam W Purinton was charged Thursday with premeditated first-degree murder in the triple shooting, as well as two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
About five hours after the shooting, Purinton was arrested at an Applebee’s restaurant. Police say that a bartender had called the police after Purinton allegedly said he had killed two Middle Eastern men.
The FBI was investigating whether the incident was a hate crime.
“We are looking at whether the crime was committed via bias motivation. We are really at the preliminary stage at looking at every aspect,” said Eric Jackson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office, during a news conference.
Two officials from the Indian consulate in Houston were going to Kansas to meet the injured men and police to “ascertain more details of the incident and monitor follow-up action,” Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup said in a statement.
Kansara said that the HAF thanks those who put themselves at risk to stop this attack or to bring the perpetrator to justice. “It is these acts of heroism in our communities that make America great,” he said.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help raise funds for sending Kuchibhotla’s remains to India. It has raised over $200,000 in only eight hours, the Indian Express reports.
Kavipriya Muthuramalingam, a friend and former colleague of the shooting victim, has raised more than $250,000 via a crowd-funding website to help his family with funeral and other expenses.
“This came as an incredible shock – as he is one of the most gentle, nicest human beings you would meet,” Muthuramalingam said. “He was non-confrontational, non-controversial, easy-going, always smiling.”
The shooting incident comes at a time when hate crimes and acts of bigotry have risen notably during the recent months in America. A Jewish cemetery was vandalised in St Louis, Missouri last week and the offices of Jewish civil society organisations have received bomb threats.
A man was removed from a Chicago-Houston flight after levelling racist taunts at Pakistani and Indian passengers.
Trump responsible for racist attack: Victim’s family
Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s family has blamed US President Donald Trump for the racist attack.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla worked at GPS-maker Garmin headquarters in Olathe, died of bullet injuries in hospital while his Indian colleague Alok Madasani was critically injured when the 51-year-old shooter, Adam Purinton, shot him on Wednesday night in the US.
Some cousins of Srinivas, who met and consoled his parents and other family members told PTI that after completing his B Tech from the city, Srinivas left for the US in 2005 for M Tech.
“Four years back he got married. He was highly appreciated by his managers at his workplace. In 2014, he shifted to Garmin company. We have been told the shooting is due to hate crime. Srinivas was a very good person… We miss him,” an inconsolable Krishnamohan (cousin) said.
“This is a hatred kind of murder (hate crime attack). We normally won’t answer when such people shout. I have myself worked in the US and I know it. I think my cousin also might have not answered back to him. Probably, after US President Donald Trump we are seeing this… We feel racist attacks have increased. Previously this was not the scene. There were incidents once in a while, now it has become very frequent. It happened in our house this time. It’s very sad,” Venu Madhav, another cousin, told PTI.
However, they thanked external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for immediate response in the matter by sending two officials.
“Srinivas’s brother stays in Dallas. I co-ordinated with my friends and asked them to help them out. Till now the body has not been given to us and we are expecting the body to be handed over by tonight,” he said.
Hate crimes dangerous trend in USA: Former Indian Ambassador to US
Former Indian Ambassador to US said the hate crime showed a “dangerous trend among disgruntled people” in the USA. He blamed it on the pre-election rhetoric against immigrants whipped up by Donald Trump.
“Definitely a hate crime, something that’s happened before. This shows a dangerous trend among disgruntled people,” the former Indian Ambassador to US said.
“In the run-up to election, passions have been whipped up against immigrants and foreigners. Now it’s become white vs non-white,” he added. “I’m sure the Trump administration must be watching it carefully and FBI and the local police have taken prompt action. But it’s not enough.”
Naresh Chandra blamed the trend of hate crimes in the country on “Trump-produced role models”.
“Unfortunate part is that some of appointments made by Trump produced role models of very different kind. They’re very illiberal and have been making bad speeches that sort of has enhanced the feeling of victimhood,” he said.
The killing led news bulletins in India and drew strong reactions on social media, where people voiced concern that Trump`s “America First” position on immigration and jobs has fuelled a climate of intolerance.
Popular South Indian actor Siddharth blamed Trump for “spreading hate”.