Killer of Indian techie in Kansas indicted on hate crime, other charges

Adam Purinton, accused of killing Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injuring two others at a suburban Kansas City bar, was on Friday indicted on federal hate crime and firearms charges.

The indictment by a federal grand jury against Purinton, 51, of Olathe, Kansas, comes after a 22 February shooting at a Kansas bar.

The indictment announced by the Department of Justice has accused Purinton of shooting and killing Kuchibhotla, and attempting to kill Alok Madasani, also an Indian national, because of their actual and perceived race, colour, religion and national origin.

Kuchibhotla's wife Sunayna Dumala expressed ''relief'' after federal hate crime charges were filed against the alleged shooter. Speaking to Kansas City Star newspaper, Dumala said she heard what she wanted to hear for a long time.

''The federal charges brought a lot of relief in my heart,'' Dumala said. ''I got to hear what I wanted to hear. I'm glad that things are moving fast.''

Dumala, who returned her suburban home in Olathe after Kuchibhotla's funeral in India, said she was greeted with ''piles of letters of support'', which made her feel that her return was justified. After her husband's death, Dumala had asked in a Facebook post, ''Do we belong?'' Answering her own question, she told the newspaper that she is starting to believe she does belong in the country.

''I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I received from different corners,'' Dumala said. ''It made us believe we do belong.''

Witnesses to the shooting said Purinton yelled at the two Indian men to "get out of my country" before pulling out a gun and pulling the trigger.

Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old American man, was also injured when he sought to intervene in the shooting.

The announcement of the indictment this regard was made by acting assistant attorney general Thomas E Wheeler, II, head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, and United States Attorney Thomas E Beall of the District of Kansas.

Purinton faces a maximum penalty of death or life in prison. The Justice Department will determine at a later date whether in this particular case it will seek the death penalty, a media release said.

A third count in the indictment charges Purinton with violating a federal firearms statute by discharging a firearm during the violence.

It alleges that Purinton committed the offences 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.

Purinton, a US Navy veteran, is currently being held in the Johnson County jail on murder and attempted murder charges.