The U.S. Department of Justice announced hate crime charges Friday (June 9) for Adam Purinton, the White man accused of a racist shooting that left an Indian-born engineer dead and two other men wounded at an Olathe, Kansas, bar in February.
In U.S. v. Purinton, the department charges Purinton with two hate crime counts for killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding Alok Madasani "because of [their] actual and perceived race, color, religion and national origin." Purinton also faces one count of felony weapons violations for shooting at the two Indian nationals and Ian Grillot, a White man shot trying to stop the gunman.
"The indictment alleges that Purinton committed the offenses after substantial planning and premeditation, attempted to kill more than one person in a single criminal episode, and knowingly created a grave risk of death to others on the scene," reads the department’s statement. Officials will decide if they will pursue the death penalty—the maximum penalty for these crimes—at a later date.
As The Kansas City Star reports, Purinton also faces three first-degree murder charges—one premeditated, two attempted—from Johnson County, Kansas, prosecutors. County district attorney Steve Howe and an unidentified spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas told The Star that their offices will coordinate on the prosecutions, but did not say which trial will begin first.
The federal and county charges against Purinton echo previous witness statements to The Star that said he harassed Kuchibhotla and Madasani—both Indian immigrants and colleagues with nearby technology company Garmin—with racist slurs before opening fire. An affidavit adds that Madasani told police about Purinton repeatedly questioning their immigration status before Grillot and another person told him to leave. Purinton then returned 30 minutes later, shooting Kuchibhotla, Madasani and Grillot. Police across the state border in Clinton, Missouri, apprehended Purinton after a bartender called 911, saying that Purinton mentioned killing two "Middle Eastern" men.
"I’m so glad that things are moving faster than we thought," Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, told The Star.