Grieving family and friends mourned the death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Garmin employee who who was shot and killed at Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe last week, during funeral services held in his southern Indian hometown Tuesday.
Kuchibhotla’s wife, Sunayana Dumala, and his family, friends and hundreds of people including politicians bade farewell to the engineer in Hyderabad, India, according to the Times of India and the Hindustan Times.
Kuchibhotla’s body reached Hyderabad on Monday night. Hours later, the flower-laden body was taken in an open carriage from his home to a crematorium where it was placed on a wooden pyre.
Tears rolled down the cheeks of Kuchibhotla’s parents, Madhusudhan Rao and Parvatha Vardhini, as his body was cremated in Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana state.
Never miss a local story.
His father lit the pyre amid chants of Vedic hymns as part of Hindu last rites at the Mahaprasthanam crematorium at Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad, according to the Hindustan Times.
“It is so cruel,” P.L. Narayana said of losing his nephew. “He was such a kind soul, very friendly. He was so excited that he and his wife were going to start a family soon. Now this has happened.”
Paul Oommen, an India-based journalist with The Associated Press and other outlets, tweeted that Kuchibhotla’s grand uncle said that Kuchibhotla and his siblings were all bright students, “but Srinivas was the brightest of the three.”
Oommen also tweeted photos from the family’s residence, writing that the “long anxious wait finally ends” as Kuchibhotla’s body was surrounded by garlands and placed on a pyre.
Another journalist, Sushil Rao, tweeted that the Indian government should “institute awards for those who protect Indians abroad.” He then mentioned Ian Grillot, who was shot by Kuchibhotla’s alleged killer when he attempted to intervene during the shooting.
Oommen also tweeted that he overheard someone say in the Kuchibhotla residence that “if India had enough opportunities we wouldn’t have had to send our kids abroad.”
Kuchibhotla, 32, died last Wednesday night when a man opened fire at the Olathe bar, killing Kuchibhotla and injuring Alok Madasani, 32, and Grillot, 24.
Adam W. Purinton, 51, of Olathe is charged with first-degree premeditated murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Kuchibhotla had stopped by Austins to get a drink with Madasani, who also works at Garmin, after work. Purinton reportedly yelled “get out of my country” before shooting Madasani and Kuchibhotla and fleeing. Grillot was shot in the hand and chest while trying to stop the gunman.
An Indian External Affairs Ministry statement said Tuesday that the U.S. government and senior authorities in Kansas responded to Kuchibhotla’s death.
“It is important to note that the U.S. authorities are engaged with us on the larger concern regarding safety of Indians in the U.S., a matter which continues to receive the government’s top priority,” the statement said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.