Olathe: Prosecutors on Thursday charged a 51-year-old man with murder and attempted murder after he allegedly opened fire in a crowded suburban Kansas City bar, killing one man and injuring two others, but authorities declined to say if the attack was racially-motivated.
A bartender at Austins Bar and Grill in Oathe, Kansas, said that Adam Purinton, 51, used “racial slurs” before he started shooting on Wednesday night as patrons were watching the University of Kansas-TCU basketball game on television.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, from Hyderabad, died at an area hospital, police said. Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24, were hospitalized and are in stable condition, they said. Witnesses said Grillot had stepped in and tried to stop the shooter. The Linked-in accounts for Kuchibhotla and Madasani say that they were engineers working at GPS-maker Garmin, who had studied in India.
Bartender Garret Bohnen told the Kansas City Star that Kuchibhotla and Madasani stopped at Austins for a drink once or twice a week.
“From what I understand when he was throwing racial slurs at the two gentlemen (Kuchibhotla and Madasani), Ian (Grillot) stood up for them,” Bohnen said. “We’re all proud of him.”
At least one witness claimed that Purinton yelled ‘Get out of my country!’ before shooting at the Indians.
Olathe Police Chief Steve Menke declined to comment on the reports of racial comments, but said they were working with the FBI “to investigate any and all aspects of this horrific crime.”
Purinton was taken into custody just after midnight on Thursday morning at an Applebee’s about 70 miles to the southeast of Olathe in Clinton, Missouri, authorities said.
Assistant Clinton Police Chief Sonny Lynch said an Applebee’s bartender summoned police to the bar where the man was drinking because he said he’d been involved in a shooting. The unarmed Purinton was taken into custody and interviewed by detectives from Olathe.
“He mentioned he had been involved in a shooting and we went out there and picked him up,” Lynch said.