Austins Bar and Grill shooting victims honored during vigil

Posted at 9:47 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 23:49:38-05

Community members and people close to the Austins Bar & Grill shooting gathered on Friday night to honor the three victims of the tragedy.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla died in the shooting on Wednesday night, while Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot were injured.

On Friday, the Olathe community gathered at First Baptist Church for a vigil.

More than a hundred people filled the church, including Venkat Manda, who knows Madasani.

"When the pictures flashed all over the media, that's when I was like, 'Oh my God, him?'" he explained. "That was the thought that came to me."

Two days after the tragedy, Manda said the shooting was still tough to believe.

"I can never imagine that this can happen here in this community," he said. "This is such a close-knit community."

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Pastor Derek Varney delivered a message of unity after the tragedy, saying all were welcome during the vigil.

"The reality is we may never know the complete truth to those questions," Varney said during his sermon. "The community of Olathe, this beautiful, diverse family that is here today, you already have the tools to come together and show the world what a community we have here."

Professional listeners and an art therapy section were offered to those who attended the vigil on Friday night.

Olathe resident David Weerts said it was important for the community to come together.

"They really needed it. I think it was a great opportunity for the community," said Weerts, who volunteered for the event as a parking lot attendant. "I think it was fantastic. I was just overwhelmed by the amount of people that were here." 

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During a final moment of the vigil, all attendees stood up and helped sing "Stand By Me" to honor the victims.

Manda said the event helped show that the Olathe community will continue to recover together following Wednesday's tragedy.

"What this gives me is a sense of belonging to this community," he said. "I am part of this community."

Another vigil is planned for the three victims on Sunday. It will be held at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe and is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.



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