In a case of possible hate crime in the U.S., a Kansas man was charged Thursday with fatally shooting an Indian man and injuring two others in a bar. The incident took place Wednesday when Adam Purinton opened fire at two Indian men after shouting "get out of my country," an eyewitness told local media.
The 51-year-old was charged in Johnson County, Kansas, with one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder, District Attorney Stephen Howe told reporters. Purinton was accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding another Indian, Alok Madasani, 32, and an American, Ian Grillot, 24, in the Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, the Olathe Police Department said in a statement.
"We want to be able to be sure about our facts versus speculation. So we are not prepared at this point to talk about the particular facts of the case because this is still very fresh," Howe said after announcing the charges against Purinton.
Kuchibhotla and Madasani worked together at the Garmin in Olathe. Kuchibhotla came to the U.S. as a master’s student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Texas, El Paso.
According to police, Grillot was shot when he tried to intervene after Purinton threatened the two Indian men. The FBI was investigating the incident as a possible hate crime after some witnesses said the suspect hurled racial slurs before opening fire.
"We are looking at whether the crime was committed via bias motivation. We are really at the preliminary stage at looking at every aspect," Eric Jackson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office, told reporters Thursday.
India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and the U.S. embassy in New Delhi condemned the shooting incident.
"The United States is a nation of immigrants and welcomes people from across the world to visit, work, study, and live," U.S. Chargé d’Affaires MaryKay Carlson said in a statement. "U.S. authorities will investigate thoroughly and prosecute the case, though we recognize that justice is small consolation to families in grief."
Purinton, who was arrested without an incident, was a Navy veteran, the Kansas City Star reported. He was being held on a $2 million bond in the Henry County Jail, the report added.
The number of hate crimes in the country was believed to have increased since President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20. The Southern Poverty Law Center estimated an increase from 892 in 2015 to 917 last year, with anti-Muslim hate groups rising from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year.
"Anti-Muslim hate has been expanding rapidly for more than two years now, driven by radical Islamist attacks including the June mass murder of 49 people at an Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub, the unrelenting propaganda of a growing circle of well-paid ideologues, and the incendiary rhetoric Betkanyon of Trump — his threats to ban Muslim immigration, mandate a registry of Muslims in America, and more," the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote.
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