A man charged with fatally shooting an Indian national at an Olathe, Kansas bar has been indicted on federal hate crime and firearms charges.
The Justice Department announced Friday that Adam Purinton, 52, of Olathe, Kansas, was indicted by a federal grand jury.
“I think it became apparent, from our perspective, that it had a potential to be a hate crime and charged federally,” said Olathe Police Chief Steve Menke, during a press conference Friday.
According to the affidavit, on Feb. 22, Puriton allegedly made racial comments to two Garmin employees, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, from India who were sitting together in the bar’s patio. Puriton was asked to leave but returned 30 minutes later and opened fire.
Puriton is accused of shooting and killing Kuchibhotla as well as shooting and injuring Madasani and Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene.
He was arrested hours after the shooting about 80 miles away in Clinton, Missouri. He is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder and now a federal hate crime.
The hate crime indictment alleges Purinton shot Kuchibhotla and Madasani because of their perceived race, color, religion and national origin.
According to witnesses at the scene, he yelled “get out of my country before pulling the trigger.
“That’s basically giving the case away. He is stating his motivation behind the crimes. You have the act, you have the intent and now you have the motivation,” said retired FBI agent Michael Tabman.
Kansas does not have a hate crime law, which is why the FBI joined the initial investigation.
A federal hate crime charge carries a possible death sentence. The Department of Justice said Friday it would later decide whether to seek the death penalty.
In a statement Friday, Olathe’s Mayor Michael Copeland called the hate crime charge “certainly appropriate.”
“If the intent of this one act was to spread hate, it failed miserably. It has spread love and it brought this community even closer together,” part of his statement read.
Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder also released a statement after the announcement.
“Hate has no place in our community and no place in America. While nothing can bring Srinivas back, hopefully, this will bring some comfort to Sunayana and his other family members and friends who miss him so dearly. I’m glad to hear the Justice Department has worked swiftly to get these grand jury indictments and I want to commend the Olathe Police Department for their excellent work in helping federal officials in this case.”