A US Navy veteran charged with killing an Indian techie and injuring two others in a racially motivated hate crime has appeared before a court in Kansas, where his public defender sought more time to review evidence.
Adam Purinton, 51, is accused of killing Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and injuring Alok Madasani, of the same age, on February 22 and faces both murder and attempted murder charges.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit, the US Navy veteran, with messy hair and an exhausted look, appeared in Johnson County Circuit yesterday, sat quietly in the court, whispering to his lawyer, who sought more time from the court to study evidence.
Purinton’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 9. Early this week, prosecutors filed an affidavit describing the events leading to the shooting.
According to the document, Kuchibhotla and Madasani were watching a university basketball game at a pub when Purinton approached them and asked if they were legal immigrants. He shouted “get out of my country” at the two Indians. Purinton continued to confront the two Indians until employees escorted him out.
He returned about 30 minutes later with a handgun, prosecutors say. Madasani said he remembered hearing someone shout, “He’s back and he’s got a gun!” Kuchibhotla was shot three times by Purinton and pronounced dead at the University of Kansas Hospital.
Madasani was shot once in the leg. Prosecutors say Purinton began to run off when Ian Grillot, a fellow Garmin employee who tried to intervene in the melee, thought he was out of ammunition and chased him.
Purinton then turned and shot Grillot in the hand and upper chest. He has been discharged from hospital and recovering. Police later arrested Purinton from a restaurant about 130 kilometres away. He is in jail on a USD two-million bond.
The incident has drawn widespread attention to the safety of Indian Americans living in the United States. On March 3, another Indian national Deep Rai was shot by a partially masked gunman in his driveway while working on his car in Kent, Washington state.
According to Rai, the shooter shouted at him, “Go back to your own country”. US President Donald Trump condemned the Kansas shooting in an address to Congress last week, and the FBI is investigating the case as a hate crime.