The shooting of two Indians inside a crowded bar in suburban Kansas City in the United States has sent ripples across their hometowns with the government rushing diplomats to monitor progress in the investigation into the crime, which is said to be racially motivated. Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was shot dead after the suspect, Adam Purinton, opened fire while the second victim Alok Madasani suffered injuries and is believed to be in a stable condition currently.
As details emerge of what happened in and around Austins Bar and Grill, the bartender who has served the two recounts his memories about the duo, who were engineers at GPS-maker Garmin headquarters in Olathe. The pair, who were regulars at the bar, used to generally order Jameson (a type of whiskey), said Garret Bohnen, adding that Kuchibhotla and Madasani used to drop in at Austins for a drink once or twice a week.
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According to reports, the Indian duo were subjected to racial slurs before the suspect attacked them. Kuchibhotla and Madasani were reportedly targeted after Purinton thought they were Middle Eastern.
“We know them as the Jameson guys,” Bohnen was quoted as saying by the Kansas City Star, a local newspaper in Kansas. Recalling his memories about the co-workers, the bartender told the newspaper, “They are super nice guys. They would sit, have a cigarette, have a few drinks and pay their tab and leave.”
Meanwhile, a 24-year-old American, Ian Grillot, who jumped to the defense of the Indians, is being hailed as a hero by the local media. He also sustained injuries during the deadly attack. Bohnen was equally effusive in his praise for Grillot. “Ian’s a really good guy,” Bohnen said. “He’s been going there forever. We’ve always had a good time with him. He’s always one to diffuse stuff.”
On the other hand, the 51-year-old suspect has been taken into custody and charged with murder and attempted murder.
Before his arrest, the suspect had reportedly fled the spot on foot and left the Kansas City area. He was having a drink at another bar about five hours later and had reportedly told a bartender that he was in urgent need for a place to hide out as he had killed two ‘Middle Eastern men.’ Subsequently, the bartender informed the police and he was arrested.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in New Delhi has strongly condemned the shooting. “The United States is a nation of immigrants and welcomes people from across the world to visit, work, study, and live. U.S. authorities will investigate thoroughly and prosecute the case, though we recognize that justice is small consolation to families in grief,” Charge d’Affaires MaryKay Carlson said.
(With inputs from Agencies)