Adam W. Purinton, of Olathe, Kan., pleaded guilty today in federal court to hate crime and firearm charges for shooting Indian nationals Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died, and Alok Madasani, as well as Olathe resident Ian Grillot, who were wounded, at Austins Bar & Grill in February 2017. In pleading guilty to the hate crime, Purinton admitted that he shot Kuchibhotla and Madasani, attempting to kill both men, because of their race, color, religion, and national origin, a press release from the Office of the U.S. Attorney for Kansas.
The shooting led to a nationwide mobilization of Indians and Indian-Americans who spoke out against hate crime, and raised money for the affected families. The Indian government presented an award to Ian Grillot for his bravery in trying to intercede in the attack and sustaining severe wounds. Kansas elected officials, as well as the local community came out in support of the Indians and Indian-Americans living in Kansas, and Kuchibhotla’s wife Sunayana Dumala, was given special help with her visa status when she came back to the U.S.
Purinton previously pleaded guilty to state charges for murder and attempted murder arising out of the shooting. He was sentenced earlier this month to life in state prison.
”Nothing we do can provide complete comfort and solace to the victims of this tragic crime and their families. But our office hopes that the federal life sentence which Mr. Purinton has agreed to request and accept will give them some measure of closure,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister is quoted saying in the press release.
Purinton admitted in his May 21 plea that the following is an accurate recitation of the facts supporting the crimes for which he pleaded guilty:
A few weeks before the shooting, Purinton was sitting by himself in the bar area at Austins Bar & Grill when, coincidentally, Kuchibhotla and Madasani happened to be having a drink on the patio. Noticing the two men, Purinton commented to a regular sitting at the bar, “Did you see the terrorists on the patio?”
On Feb. 22, 2017, Purinton drove to Austins Bar & Grill and sat by himself at a table on the enclosed front patio. Sitting at the table to his left were Ian Grillot and several other patrons. Sitting at the table to his right were Kuchibhotla and Madasani.
At approximately 6:40 p.m., Purinton approached Kuchibhotla and Madasani, and demanded to know where they were from and how they entered the country. Purinton poked Kuchibhotla in the chest, called him a “terrorist” and an epithet disparaging persons of Middle Eastern descent, and shouted, “Get out of my country!” Ian Grillot and another patron interceded, told Purinton that he needed to leave, and escorted him out of the bar.
Purinton drove home and retrieved one of his guns: a Taurus PT111 Millennium Pro nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol with serial number TEW13121. To disguise his identity, Purinton changed into a different shirt and grabbed a blue-and-white scarf.
At approximately 7:12 p.m., Purinton returned to Austins Bar & Grill. He wrapped the scarf around his face to disguise his identity and exited his truck carrying his semi-automatic pistol. Purinton walked over to the enclosed front patio, opened the door, aimed his semi-automatic pistol at Kuchibhotla and Madasani, and fired eight rounds—at least four of which struck Kuchibhotla, who died from his injuries, and one of which struck Madasani, who was injured, but survived. Hours after the shooting, Purinton stated over the phone to a friend, and later in person to a bartender, that he had just killed some Iranians.
After shooting Kuchibhotla and Madasani, Purinton ran out, and Ian Grillot chased after him. As Grillot caught up to him, Purinton turned around and shot Grillot, who was injured but survived.
Purinton faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, which is the sentence that the prosecution and defense are jointly requesting. Sentencing is scheduled for July 2.
“Hate crimes are acts of evil, and the Department of Justice has prioritized their zealous prosecution,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “In this case, the defendant embarked on a murderous rampage with clear premeditation to kill on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. It was a hate crime, and he is being brought to justice. While we cannot ameliorate the irreparable harm to the victims and their families, we hope that securing this guilty plea brings them some measure of closure. And this prosecution sends a message across the nation: hate crimes will not be tolerated.”
“Although Purinton has already been convicted of murder in the State of Kansas, and sentenced to life in prison, today’s plea in federal court speaks to his motive,” said FBI Kansas City Special Agent in Charge Darrin Jones. “By his agreement to today’s plea, Purinton acknowledges that his actions were motived (sic) by his hatred of the victims’ race, religion, color and national origin. This type of hatred will never be tolerated. I think it’s important for the community to see and understand that the FBI is committed to aggressively protecting and preserving the civil rights of all of our communities.”
This case was investigated jointly by the Olathe (KS) Police Department and the Kansas City Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.