Man sentenced to life for hate crime shootings of Indian men in Kansas bar

Adam Purinton at the Johnson County District Courthouse in Olathe, Kansas, on May 15, 2017.

AP

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A Kansas man who opened fire a suburban Kansas City bar in 2017, killing an immigrant from India and wounding two other men, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to three consecutive life prison sentences for what federal prosecutors said was a hate crime.

Adam Purinton, 53, of Olathe, did not speak in court Tuesday as he was sentenced for the Feb. 22, 2017, shooting at Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe. The shooting killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, who had stopped at the bar with a co-worker, Alok Madasani, for an after-work drink. Madasani, also 32, was wounded.

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Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot and killed at a bar in Olathe, Kansas.

KCTV

The shooting raised concerns that immigrants were facing more violence after the election of President Donald Trump and prompted officials in India to question whether their citizens were safe in the U.S. 

Witnesses said Purinton was asked to leave the bar after he verbally harassed Kuchibhotla and Madasani, at one point yelling at them, "Get out of my country." He later returned with a handgun and fired several times at the two men, killing Kuchibhotla and wounding Madasani. 

A third man who tried to intervene, Ian Grillot, also was wounded.

Purinton was arrested later in Missouri after he allegedly told a bartender he was running from police. The bartender called 911 and told a dispatcher Purinton told her he had just shot "two Iranian people."

He pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges in May, in a deal that allowed him to avoid the death penalty. His sentence on Tuesday will run consecutively to another life sentence he previously received for first-degree murder in Johnson County District Court in Kansas. 

In a written statement filed when he pleaded guilty, Purinton said he accepted full responsibility for the "grievous harm" he caused the victims, their families and the community.

"I hope that this plea might, in some small way, help reduce the suffering that I have caused them all," he said in his statement.

None of his victims appeared in court Tuesday, The Kansas City Star reported.

Prosecutors read a statement from Sunayana Dumala, Kuchibhotla's widow, which she addressed to Purinton:

"Srinu and I came to the United States of America full of dreams and aspirations. ... Now, my American Dream – and that of Srinu's – is broken," she wrote. "If you could have kept your anger inside and spoke to my husband softly, Srinu would have been more than happy to share his background and help you understand that not every brown skinned person is suspicious or evil, but kind, smart and contributing to America. Instead you chose to rage and bully in anger and when you were stopped, you decided to take their lives."

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that Purinton's crimes were "detestable." 

"The defendant acted with clear premeditation in murdering one man, and attempting to murder a second man, simply because of their race, religion, and national origin," according to the statement. "As a result, a promising young life has been tragically cut short, and other lives have been filled with suffering. Securing this sentence is important not only to the victims and their loved ones, but also to our justice system and our nation as a whole."