A Kansas man pleaded guilty in state court Tuesday to killing an engineer from India in a high-profile hate crime that drew international attention and raised fears of growing intolerance in America.
Witnesses said Adam Purinton yelled, “Get out of my country,” before fatally shooting Srinivas Kuchibhotla on February 22, 2017.
He also injured Alok Madasani, who was with the victim, and Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene and stop the killer.
In a statement after Friday’s sentencing, the victim’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, urged people to work together to spread love and stand up to hate.
“Today’s sentencing in the murder of my husband will not bring back my Srinu, but it sends a strong message that hate is never acceptable,” she said, according to CNN affiliate KCTV. “I continue to use what has happened as a platform with the hope of saving others from going through this hell.”
Hate crime charges
Kuchibhotla, who later died from injuries sustained in the attack, and Madasani were both originally from India and worked as engineers at Garmin, a tech company that makes GPS devices.
Kuchibhotla and Madasani, both originally from India, worked as engineers at Garmin, a tech company that makes GPS devices.
Purinton pleaded guilty to one count of premeditated first-degree murder in Kuchibhotla’s death and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the shootings of Madasani and Grillot, officials said. He faces additional hate crime charges in federal court.
He faces additional hate crime charges in federal court.
Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, said the plea “will send a strong message that hate is never acceptable. We must understand and love one another,” CNN affiliate KCTV reported.
The incident began after a Purinton allegedly became agitated with the two 32-year-olds who were having a drink after work.
Grillot, a regular at the bar, approached the man and asked him to leave. The suspect left the bar and drove away, according to Grillot. He allegedly returned later and allegedly opened fire in the bar, according to prosecutors.
He returned shortly afterward and opened fire in the bar, shooting the victims. He then fled and was arrested hours later at an Applebee’s restaurant 70 miles away in Clinton, Missouri.
In 911 calls released by CNN affiliate KSHB, an Applebee’s bartender told police that a man had admitted to shooting two “Iranian” people in Olathe and was looking for a place to hide.
The judge sentenced Purinton to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years for one first-degree murder charge, and an additional 165 months each for the other two attempted first-degree murder charges.
As part of Purinton’s plea, he got a maximum sentence on each count that will run consecutive to each other and to any sentence that may be imposed in his federal case.
A few days after the bar shooting, another Indian man was shot and injured outside his home in Kent, Washington. His attacker yelled: “Go back to your country.”
Dumala called for a walk Friday in his memory.
CNN’s Janet DiGiacomo and Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this report.