FBI Takes up Investigation Into HYDERABAD Techie’s Killing

February 25th, 2017 | by Sukumar Roy

THE Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined police in investigating a possible hate crime in a bar in Kansas City that left Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla from Hyderabad dead and 2 others injured.”The FBI is investigating to determine if the shooting of Srinivas Kuchibhotla was a bias-motivated hate crime in violation of the victims’ civil rights,” said Eric Jackson, Special Agent In- charge of the FBI’s Kansas City. The shooter was a 51-year-old navy veteran.

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted “I am shocked” and said she has promised assistance to Kuchibhotla’s family including helping to bring the 32-year-old’s body back to Hyderabad. The police, who reached the spot after hearing the gunshots, suspect that a person, reportedly a black, might have shot him dead to rob him of money and car.

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The shooter named Adam Purinton,a navy veteran with inactive pilot license and air traffic controller certificate, told a bartender in Clinton, Missouri, where he was hiding after the shooting that he killed two Middle Eastern persons, local media reported. Srinivas Kuchibhotla was with his friend at a bar in Kansas when a man allegedly yelled “get out of my country” before shooting at them.  Kuchibhotla was killed.  His friend, Alok Madasani, has been released from hospital. A witness who tried to intervene, Ian Grillot, was shot, but is expected to survive the attack.The shooter was a 51-year-old navy veteran.Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted “I am shocked” and said she has promised assistance to Mr Kuchibhotla’s family including helping to bring the 32-year-old’s body back to Hyderabad.Meanwhile,Alok Madasani, another Indian injured in attack, has been released from hospital.The US embassy in New Delhi condemned the shooting. “The United States is a nation of immigrants and welcomes people from across the world to visit, work, study, and live,” US Charge d’Affaires MaryKay Carlson said in a statement.

“US authorities will investigate thoroughly and prosecute the case, though we recognize that justice is small consolation to families in grief,” the statement read.

Mr Kuchibhotla was catching up on Wednesday evening over a drink with his friend in Olathe, the fourth-largest town in Kansas with a population of about 130,000. Adam Purinton then started shouting at them calling them “Middle Eastern” and warning “get out of my country” before firing multiple rounds.

Mr Purinton managed to escape in the confusion that followed the shooting and was caught in Missouri over five hours later, where he told a staff at a local bar that he had shot two Middle-Eastern men. The bartender called the police.

He has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder and his bond has been set at $2 million. According to Kansas City Star, the shooter worked as an air traffic controller in Olathe. He also worked at the Federal Aviation Administration, but left FAA in 2000.Eyewitness says the accused was drunk, yelled ‘get out of my country’ and ‘terrorist’ at the two Indians before opening fire on them in the bar. Friends of Kuchibhotla have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for sending his remains to India. “Srini was the kindest person you would meet, full of love, care and compassion for everyone. He never uttered a word of hatred, a simple gossip, or a careless comment. He was brilliant, well mannered and simply an outstanding human being,” the fund raising page said. “His wife Sunayana and his family are now faced with incredible grief and a multitude of expenses,” it said. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Delhi has condemned the incident and said American authorities would thoroughly investigate the case, and prosecute the accused. The shooting incident comes at a time when hate crimes and acts of bigotry have risen notably during recent months in America. It has sent shock waves among Indian-American and Indian communities across the United States. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Kuchibhotla,” said Jay Kansara, director of Government Relations at Hindu American Foundation.”We are also praying for a speedy recovery for the injured. We call upon the US Department of Justice and local law enforcement to investigate this murder as what it is, a hate crime. Anything less will be an injustice to the victims and their families,” he said.

The Kansas City Star said 24-year-old Ian Grillot, also at the bar during the shooting, hid behind a table when Purinton opened fire. He counted the gunshots and when he thought the gunman was out of bullets, he jumped up to stop him but Purinton still had one round left, and he used it to shoot Grillot. The bullet went through the 24-year-old Olathe man’s hand and into his chest.The sports bar where the shooting took place has been closed with a sign on the door that said it would remain closed indefinitely. According to his Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, Kuchibhotla graduated from the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad in 2005. He then got his Master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso where he taught as a research assistant before graduating in 2007.

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