Purinton was indicted for allegedly targeting the Indian men for “their actual and perceived race, colour, religion and national origin”.

Srinivas Kuchibotla murder Kansas man charged with hate crimeSrinivas Kuchibotla (left) and Adam Purinton (right)
news Crime Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 12:32

The man accused of killing Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibotla in the US earlier this year has been charged with committing a hate crime.

A federal grand jury announced on Friday the indictment of 52-year-old Adam W Purinton, a former Navy serviceman, for shooting at three people, leaving one dead and two injured.

On February 22, Srinivas Kuchibotla and his friend, Alok Madasani, working as engineers for GPS-maker Garmin in Olathe, were shot by Purinton inside the Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas. Kuchibhotla hailed from Hyderabad, while Madasani hails from Warangal town in Telangana.

A bullet also hit Ian Grillot, a US citizen who tried to intervene, in the hand and entered his chest when he tried to stop Purinton.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla (left) and Alok Madasani

Purinton could be looking at a death sentence if the hate crime charges are proved against him. The Kansas City Star reported that the jury indicted him for allegedly targeting the Indian men "because of their actual and perceived race, color, religion and national origin."

It also said that Purinton committed the crime after "substantial planning and premeditation" and "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 was earlier charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, and for using a firearm.

: The Indian American community holding a candle light vigil in memory of Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Washington DC on Friday; PTI Photo 

Sunayana Dumala, Srinivas's wife took to Facebook to say that she was happy at the speed with which the case was moving forward.

"Srinu, it's June 9th today and have been updated by federal attorneys about the federal charges that have been indicted by federal grand jury on the suspect. Although it's painful to hear as that reminds of what he did to you, I'm happy at the speed things are moving and that we are one more step closer to justice being served and also help us in spreading our message against hate crimes. Missing you badly and I know you are watching everything," she wrote in a touching note.

Sunayana Dumala/Facebook

Suman Sirimulla, Srinivas's close friend, told The Kansas City Star that he believed that his friend was the victim of a hate crime and that the charges against Purinton were appropriate.

"I think the shooter was racially motivated. He thought Srinivas was a Muslim from the Mideast when in fact he was a Hindu from India. (Purinton) knew nothing about his victim and shot him anyway," he said.

India's Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna hands over to Ian Grillot a cheque of USD 100,000 raised by the Indian American community at the 14th annual gala of India House Houston; PTI Photo

According to the Associated Press, witnesses who were present at the scene during the shootout said that prior to opening fire, Purinton shouted “Get out of my country!” at Srinivas and Alok. 

Main image source: Srinivas Kuchibotla/TNM; Adam W Purinton - Screenshot/The Kansas City Star

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