Wife of man killed in possible hate crime shooting speaks out

The wife of an Indian man killed in a possible hate crime shooting in Kansas spoke out today, describing her husband as a hardworking man who loved America and “did not deserve a death like this.”

Sunayana Dumala said her husband, shooting victim Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, arrived in the U.S. from India in 2005 to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Dumala said not long after that, she and her husband moved to Kansas and “made Olathe their home,” and Kuchibhotla continued to “succeed” in the aviation industry, which he was passionate about.

On the night of shooting, Kuchibhotla was just doing “the same thing” he always does — enjoying a glass of beer to get rid of his “work stress” and have a “fun time with his friend,” Dumala said, speaking at a news conference.

According to Dumala, Kuchibhotla and his friends were “minding their own business” when a man began harassing them over their race. The managers of the bar kicked the man out, but he came back, Dumala said.

“He has taken a life — a very lovable soul — from everyone,” Dumala said.

The couple’s families are “in grief,” she said, noting that her husband would have turned 33 on March 9.

Dumala said she had expressed concerns with her husband about shootings in the U.S. and wondered if they should stay in the country.

When she expressed those concerns, she said he would he would tell her, “Good things happen in America.”

Kuchibhotla’s brothers also spoke publicly today, urging authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter, which they said they believed was not a random incident.

The Indian government “should voice out this strongly [to U.S. authorities] because our brothers, sisters and our relatives are there,” Venu Madhav, a brother of Kuchibhotla, told South Asian news agency Asian News International (ANI) today.

Madhav suggested to ANI that he believed the incident was not just a random shooting, saying, that “if you really look into this incident, this is not done by a teenager or a burglar, or something like that [or] a drug addict. It is [allegedly] done by a [51-year-old] man.”

Another brother to Kuchibhotla, K.K. Shastri, told ANI that he wants authorities to release Kuchibhotla’s body to the family overseas as soon as possible.

“We want the body to be here at the earliest,” Shastri said. “We are waiting.”

As the brothers spoke to reporters outside of their home in India, other relatives of Kuchibhotla were seen on video mourning quietly in the home, including one woman who was wiping away tears.

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are investigating whether the shooting that left Kuchibhotla dead was a hate crime.

The shooting happened at the Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, on Wednesday evening, according to authorities.

A bartender said that the shooter used “racial slurs” just before firing inside the bar, The Associated Press reported.

The FBI is investigating whether the shooting was a bias crime, according to Kansas City FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Eric Jackson. He said that the FBI was going to investigate “from every angle to “determine what the true facts are.”

Local police added that they would also look into whether the shooting was racially motivated.

The shooting killed Kuchibhotla and injured two others — Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24, officials said.

Madasani and Grillot were taken to a local hospital where they were listed in stable condition, officials said.

The suspect, Adam W. Purinton, fled after the shooting, according to Olathe Police Chief Steven Menke.

Purinton was found and arrested early the following morning in Clinton, Missouri, and charged with one count of premeditated murder and two counts of premeditated attempted murder, according to Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.

Purinton is being held on a $ 2 million bond, Howe said.

Purinton has waived extradition and an attorney has not been formally assigned to Purinton because he has not yet appeared in court, the AP reported today.

The triple-shooting has shaken many, both in the U.S. and in India.

“I am very disturbed by last night’s shooting in Olathe,” Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said in a statement. “I strongly condemn violence of any kind, especially if it is motivated by prejudice and xenophobia.”

India’s minister of external affairs, Sushma Swaraj, wrote on Twitter that she was “shocked at the shooting incident in Kansas in which Srinivas Kuchibhotla has been killed.”

Swaraj said she sent her “heartfelt condolences to [the] bereaved family” and that she has been in contact with Navtej Sarna, India’s ambassador to the U.S. Swaraj said Sarna told her that two Indian embassy officials “have rushed to Kansas.”

“We will provide all help and assistance to the bereaved family,” Swaraj said. “I have spoken to the father and Mr. K.K. Shastri, brother of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, in Hyderabad and conveyed my condolences to the family.”

Madasani, who survived the shooting, has been discharged from the hospital, Swaraj noted on Twitter.

Grillot, the other survivor of the shooting, said in an interview from his hospital bed that he was “incredibly lucky.”

“I could have never walked again or seen my family again,” he said in a video posted online by the University of Kansas Health System.

The health system did not provide an update on Grillot’s condition this morning, the AP reported.

ABC News’ Matthew Foster, Julia Jacobo, Rachel Katz and Kirit Radia contributed to this report.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ABC News: International