A Kansas city man was arrested on Thursday for opening fire at two men of Indian origin in a crowded pub in the Olathe area. Eyewitnesses heard the Adam Puriton shout “Get out of my country”, before he started shooting at the patrons at the Austins Bar and Grill, who he believed were Arabs, police said, according to the The Kansas City Star.
One of the victims, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died in hospital hours later, while Alok Madasani, 32, was discharged after being treated. Another man, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, was injured after he was shot at when he tried to intervene. Grillot was quoted by local authorities as saying, “It wasn’t right, and I didn’t want the gentleman to potentially go after somebody else.”
Puriton, who was originally identified as a middle-aged white male, was tracked down at another bar several hours after the shooting. He reportedly told the bartender there that he “needed a place to hide out because he had just killed two Middle Eastern men,” local news agencies said. He has been charged with two counts of first degree murder.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted, “I am shocked at the shooting incident in Kansas in which Srinivas Kuchibhotla has been killed. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved family.” She added that two Indian embassy officials are on their way to Kansas city, and that the government will provide help to the victim’s family.
The US Embassy in New Delhi also condemned the attack. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Kuchibhotla. We share their grief, and wish a full and speedy recovery to those who were injured,” it said in a statement. The authorities concerned also promised to investigate the matter thoroughly and prosecute the guilty.
A number of hate crimes have been reported in the United States over the past few months. United States President Donald Trump has been accused of spreading Islamophobia, most recently evidenced in his executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.