Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died at a local hospital according to the police, after 51-year-old Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire in a crowded suburban bar in Olathe, Kansas. Purinton has now been charged with premeditated first-degree murder. Two others – Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24 – also suffered injuries and are in a stable condition. Kuchibhotla and Madasani were targetted after Purinton thought they were Middle Eastern. According to witnesses, the shooter yelled, “Get out of my country” before attacking the men.
WATCH | White House Condemns Kansas Shooting That Killed An Indian Engineer
Kuchibhotla is survived by his wife, Sunayana Dumala, who is also working in a technology company in Kansas. The victim was an aviation engineer at Olathe-based technology company Garmin. He graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University with a bachelor of technology degree in electrical and electronics engineering in 2005, and did his master’s from the University of Texas El Paso, NDTV reported.
The bartender at Austins Bar and Grill, Garret Bohnen, said Kuchibhotla and Madasani were regulars and stopped at the bar for a drink once or twice a week. He added that Grillot had attacked the shooter after he threw racial slurs at Kuchibhotla and Madasani. Olathe police chief Steven Menke told reporters, “It was a tragic and senseless act of violence.”
Kuchibhotla and Madasani were employees of the Aviation Systems Engineering team at GPS-maker Garmin. In a statement, Garmin said, “We’re saddened that two Garmin associates were involved in last night’s (Wednesday night) incident, and we express our condolences to the family and friends of our co-workers involved. Garmin will have grievance counsellors on-site and available for its associates today and tomorrow.” They had both studied in India.
I am shocked at the shooting incident in Kansas in which Srinivas Kuchibhotla has been killed. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved family.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) February 24, 2017
The number of hate crimes in the US have tripled in the last year, from just 34 incidents in 2015 to 101 in 2016, according to The Independent. Further, latest FBI statistics depict that hate crimes against Muslims rose 67 per cent in 2015, the same year Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign.
Last week, a Jewish cemetery was vandalised in St Louis, Missouri, 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.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help raise funds for sending Hyderabad-based engineer, Kuchibhotla’s remains to India.