Hyderabad: The sole suspect in the Austin Bar shootout, which left Srinivas Kuchibotla dead and two others injured, was charge-sheeted on Thursday.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe announced charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder on Adam Purinton, 51, during a press conference on Thursday along with the Olathe Police Department and FBI officials. Purinton has been shifted to the Henry County Jail.
According to reports in the local media that quoted eye-witnesses, Purinton was heard making racial remarks inside the bar, after which he was asked to leave. He is said to have left, and then returned with a gun and shot Srinivas Kuchibotla and his colleague-friend Alok Madasani, with Ian Grillot, another customer in the bar, who tried to save the other two receiving bullet injuries in between.
However, police and the FBI are yet to confirm whether it was a hate crime. Eric Jackson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City office, said they were too early in their investigation to assign a motive or call it a hate crime.
Reports suggested that Purinton was a military veteran who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, though this is not confirmed. Post the shooting, he fled the Austin Bar and Grill, and it was when police were searching for him that they received a call from a bartender in an Applebee bar, in Clinton, Missouri, about 82km from Olathe. The bartender told them that there was this man who had just told him that he was involved in a shooting and had killed “two Middle Eastern men”.
According to the Kansas City Star, after his arrest in Clinton, “Purinton — a Navy veteran, IT specialist, former pilot and air traffic controller who lives in a comfortable suburban home — was booked into the Henry County Jail. Purinton appeared before a judge in Henry County and waived his right to fight extradition. The bond was set at $2 million,” the daily reported.