On Monday, Adam W. Purinton, of Olathe, Kansas, pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and firearm charges for shooting Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani and Olathe resident Ian Grillot at Austins Bar & Grill in February 2017. Kuchibhotla and Madasani were both citizens of India.  U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said, according to the Department of Justice, ”Nothing we do can provide complete comfort and solace to the victims of this tragic crime and their families,” and added, “But our office hopes that the federal life sentence which Mr. Purinton has agreed to request and accept will give them some measure of closure.”

Purinton had already been convicted on state murder charges and sentenced to life in prison. Today, Purinton admitted in his plea today to the facts supporting the crimes for which he pleaded guilty. 

A few weeks before the shooting, Purinton was sitting by himself in the bar area at Austins Bar & Grill when, coincidentally, Kuchibhotla and Madasani happened to be having a drink on the patio.  Noticing the two men, Purinton commented to another person sitting at the bar, “Did you see the terrorists on the patio?” Then, on Feb. 22, 2017, Purinton drove to Austins Bar & Grill and sat by himself at a table on the enclosed front patio.  Sitting at the table to his left were Ian Grillot and several other patrons.  Sitting at the table to his right were Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani.

At approximately 6:40 p.m., Purinton approached Kuchibhotla and Madasani, and demanded to know where they were from and how they entered the country.  Purinton poked Kuchibhotla in the chest, called him a “terrorist” and used a racist epithet. He then shouted “Get out of my country!”  Ian Grillot and another patron interceded and told Purinton to leave. They also escorted him out of the bar. 

Purinton drove home and retrieved a Taurus PT111 Millennium Pro 9mm pistol. In an effort to disguise his identity, Purinton changed into a different shirt and grabbed a blue-and-white scarf. Approximately 30 minutes later, Purinton returned to Austins Bar & Grill carrying his pistol. He walked to the patio, opened the door and fired eight rounds at Kuchibhotla and Madasani, of which at least four struck Kuchibhotla, killing him. One struck Madasani, who was injured, but survived.  Hours after the shooting told a friend on the phone, and later in person to a bartender, that he had just killed some Iranians.

According to DOJ, Purinton admitted that he shot Kuchibhotla and Madasani, attempting to kill both men, because of their race, color, religion, and national origin.

After shooting Kuchibhotla and Madasani, Purinton fled with Grillot in pursuit. Purinton turned around and shot Grillot, who was injured but survived. Purinton faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, which is the sentence that the prosecution and defense are jointly requesting. Sentencing is scheduled for July 2.

 “Hate crimes are acts of evil, and the Department of Justice has prioritized their zealous prosecution,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “In this case, the defendant embarked on a murderous rampage with clear premeditation to kill on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. It was a hate crime, and he is being brought to justice. While we cannot ameliorate the irreparable harm to the victims and their families, we hope that securing this guilty plea brings them some measure of closure.  And this prosecution sends a message across the nation: hate crimes will not be tolerated.”

 “Although Purinton has already been convicted of murder in the State of Kansas, and sentenced to life in prison, today’s plea in federal court speaks to his motive,” said FBI Kansas City Special Agent in Charge Darrin Jones. “By his agreement to today’s plea, Purinton acknowledges that his actions were motivated by his hatred of the victims’ race, religion, color and national origin.  This type of hatred will never be tolerated.  I think it’s important for the community to see and understand that the FBI is committed to aggressively protecting and preserving the civil rights of all of our communities.”



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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