Kansas bar shooting suspect asked victims if their "status was legal," docs say

Adam Purinton

WIBW

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An Indian man wounded in an apparently racially motivated shooting that killed his friend at a suburban Kansas City bar told detectives that the gunman asked if their “status was legal” before he opened fire, according to an affidavit released Monday. 

Adam Purinton, 51, is jailed in Johnson County, Kansas, on $2 million bond on murder and attempted murder charges in the Feb. 22 shooting at Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas. The FBI is investigating the shooting as a hate crime. Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed and his friend, Alok Madasani, was wounded. A third man, Ian Grillot, was shot and wounded when he intervened. 

The Associated Press left a message for Purinton’s public defender, Michael McCulloch, seeking comment. 

A detective wrote in the affidavit that Grillot and another person asked Purinton to leave when he confronted Kuchibhotla and Madasani in the bar. Some of the affidavit has been redacted and it offered little information about what specifically was said, other than that Madasani told detectives Purinton asked whether the Indian men’s “status was legal.” Both men worked as engineers for GPS-device maker Garmin in Olathe. 

Employees eventually escorted Purinton from the bar, but he returned with a handgun about 30 minutes later, the affidavit said. Madasani told a detective that he heard people saying, “He’s back and he has a gun!” and then he was shot in the leg. 

Witnesses said Purinton yelled at the two Indian men to “get out of my country” before pulling the trigger.

Grillot told a detective that he chased Purinton because he believed he was out of ammunition, but he was wrong and Purinton shot him once. The bullet went through his hand and entered his chest. 

The affidavit said Purinton, of Olathe, was a regular customer at the bar and that employees were able to identify him through card receipts. The affidavit described him as wearing a white T-shirt with military style medals on it. Purinton is a Navy veteran. 

Surveillance cameras at Austin’s recorded both the incident where Purinton initially confronted the victims and the incident 30 minutes later when he returned to the bar and shot Kuchibhotla and Madasani, reports CBS affiliate KCTV.

Authorities arrested him hours later at an Applebee’s restaurant some 70 miles away in Clinton, Missouri. A bartender at the restaurant told a 911 dispatcher that the man had admitted to shooting two people, but that he described them as Iranian, according to a recording of that call. 

“OK, so I’m a bartender at Applebees and I had this guy come into my bar and he told me that he had done something really bad and he was on the run from the police, and he asked if he could stay with me and my husband,” the bartender says in the call. “He wouldn’t tell me what he did. I kept asking him and he said he would tell me if I agreed to let him stay with me. I finally got him to tell me. He said he shot and killed two Iranian people in Olathe, and I looked it up on the news and there was this shooting like three hours ago...”  

Grillot and Madasani have since been released from the hospital, KCTV reports.

Madasani addressed a crowd during a vigil last week, still on crutches, calling the shooting “an isolated incident that doesn’t reflect the true spirit of Kansas, the Midwest and the United States.”