“Get out of my country.”
Those were the words reportedly uttered by a shooter in a Kansas bar just before 32-year-old Garmin aviation engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was gunned down. Kuchibhotla, a U.S. citizen who immigrated from India, died at a nearby Olathe hospital while two other victims—another Garmin engineer, Alok Madasani, 32— and Ian Grillot, 24, were held in stable condition Wednesday night. Kuchibhotla and Madasani were regulars at the bar. Madasani was also a U.S. citizen.
Bartender Garret Bohnen told the Kansas City Star that the shooting was probably a hate crime. “From what I understand when he [the gunman] was throwing racial slurs at the two gentlemen, Ian stood up for them,” he said. Grillot is being called a hero, after chasing down and attempting to subdue the shooter, who turned around and fired a shot that penetrated his right hand and chest, just inches from a major artery. Grillot said he, “just did what was right to do.”
“We’re deeply saddened by this terrible and senseless tragedy that took the life of one of our associates,” says Garmin Media Relations Manager Carly Hysell. “Our Garmin family would like to express our condolences to the family and friends of our colleagues involved, and to Ian Grillot, the third man wounded in the shooting. Srinivas was a valued member of our engineering team and we know he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. As we grieve this tragedy as a community, our thoughts and prayers are with all involved.”
Garmin held a vigil for the victims on Friday at their Olathe headquarters. A GoFundMe account has raised over $350,000 to fly Kuchibhotla’s body back to India. Friends and associates called him a brilliant engineer. Fifty-one-year-old Olathe resident Adam Purinton has been charged in the shooting, after reportedly driving over an hour to a bar in Clinton, Missouri, where he told a bartender that he had killed two Middle Eastern men. India Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj released a statement on Twitter.
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
According to Swaraj, Kuchibhotla’s body is to be transported back to Hyderabad.
“The friends and family of Srinivas Kuchibhotla are in our prayers, and we hope for a speedy recovery for the other two men who were shot,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. “This sort of senseless violence is never acceptable, and law enforcement here in Kansas will continue to thoroughly investigate this crime.”
The FBI is also investigating the shooting.
Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, posted a nearly-3,000 word note to her Facebook page, sharing her feelings on the events. “We came here to achieve and fulfill our dreams. He always assured me that if we think good, be good, then good will happen to us and that we will be safe. He used to hug me tightly and sleep giving me this assurance. Srinu, now that I have gotten used to that warm hug, I might not be able to sleep. That was the only place in the world that I could sleep without any worries or tensions.”
Flags in Olathe continue to fly at half mast.
We’re devastated by the senseless tragedy that took the life of one of our associates and friends, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, and injured another, Alok Madasani. Our thoughts are also with Ian Grillot, deemed the “Good Samaritan” for his heroic efforts that fatal evening. Srinivas was a valued member of our engineering team and will be greatly missed. We are working closely with Srinivas’s and Alok’s families and appreciate the outpouring of support for them. As we grieve this tragedy as a community, our thoughts and prayers are with all involved.