Olathe shooting: India shocked after national killed in US

From left: Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died; Alok Madasani, who was injured; and Ian Grillot, also injuredImage copyright

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From left: Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died; Alok Madasani, who was injured; and Ian Grillot, also injured

India has expressed shock after the fatal shooting of an Indian national in the US, amid reports that the attack may have been racially motivated.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla died shortly after Wednesday’s attack at a bar in Olathe, Kansas. His friend Alok Madasani, also from India, and an American were hurt.

Adam Purinton has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder.

The killing dominated news bulletins in India and social media, where some blamed Donald Trump’s presidency.

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Adam Purinton was arrested five hours after the shooting

The FBI is now investigating possible motives for the crime at Austins Bar and Grill, with race among them. A bystander told the Kansas City Star that just before opening fire the gunman shouted: “Get out of my country.”

A barman also told local media that the attacker used racial slurs before opening fire on Wednesday night.

The suspect allegedly fled on foot and was arrested five hours later at a restaurant just over the state border, 80 miles (130km) away in Clinton, Missouri.

Mr Kuchibhotla was from the Indian city of Hyderabad. His parents, Madhusudhan Rao and Vardhini Rao, were too stunned by news of his death to comment, the Associated Press reported.

Mr Madasani’s father, Jaganmohan Reddy, called it a hate crime, saying that such incidents had increased in number following the election of Donald Trump.

Media captionKansas shooting ‘hero’ counted the gunman’s shots

After the shooting, Indian actor Siddharth tweeted to his 2.6 million followers: “Don’t be shocked! Be angry! Trump is spreading hate. This is a hate crime! RIP #SrinivasKuchibhotla.”

India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said she “conveyed my condolences to the family” of the victim, assuring that “all help and assistance” would be provided.

The foreign ministry said two Indian consulate officials from Houston and Dallas had already been sent to Kansas City to meet Mr Madasani and arrange the repatriation of Mr Kuchibhotla’s body.

The Indian consul general, Anupam Ray, told the BBC: “We would like to reassure the Indian community that this is being personally monitored at the highest level by Indian External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj from Delhi.”

The US Embassy in Delhi decried the shooting.

“The United States is a nation of immigrants and welcomes people from across the world to visit, work, study, and live,” said Charge d’Affaires MaryKay Carlson.

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

A community shaken – Brajesh Upadhyay, BBC Hindi, Washington

The attack has drawn a strong response in the Indian media, with most calling it a hate crime. “The president now has blood on his hands”, one headline said, referring to President Trump’s election rhetoric, which has been perceived as anti-immigrant.

The same outlets have also lauded the American man who tried to help the engineers and suffered bullet wounds. He’s been called a hero.

Many in the Indian community in the US have voiced concerns over Mr Trump’s diatribes against Muslims and foreign workers accused of stealing American jobs. Such statements have led to anxiety among the thousands of Indian technology workers who have come to the US.

There’s generally been a belief in the community that Indians have gelled well into mainstream America and will not be targeted. That belief may have been shaken, if not totally shattered, even though the authorities are yet to list the shooting as a hate crime.

Mr Kuchibhotla, 32, and Mr Madasani, also 32, were engineers at US technology company Garmin and studied in India, according to their social media profiles.

Mr Madasani has now been released from hospital.

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Austins Bar & Grill

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Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe

The other injured man, Ian Grillot, 24, had apparently intervened to stop the violence, according to witnesses.

Speaking from his hospital bed to local TV News channel KMBC, he brushed aside suggestions that he was a hero.

Mr Purinton, 51, was extradited to Kansas on Friday.

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