A 51-year-old Olathe man was charged Thursday with premeditated first-degree murder in Wednesday night’s triple shooting at an Olathe bar.
Adam W. Purinton also was charged in Johnson County District Court with two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Bond has been set at $2 million.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe announced the charges during a press conference at Olathe police headquarters.
He was joined by federal law enforcement officials who said that they are investigating in conjunction with Olathe police to determine if the shooting was a bias-motivated hate crime in violation of the victims’ civil rights.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, who worked in aviation systems for Olathe-based Garmin Ltd., was fatally shot in the incident that occurred around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at Austins Bar and Grill near 151st Street and Mur-Len Road.
His Garmin co-worker, 32-year-old Alok Madasani of Overland Park, was wounded along with another bar patron, 24-year-old Ian Grillot.
Both men remained hospitalized Thursday.
“It was a tragic and senseless act of violence,” said Olathe Police Chief Steven Menke.
Witnesses said that before the shooting, Purinton was allegedly making bigoted slurs toward the two Garmin employees, who are of Indian descent.
At least one witness reportedly heard him say “get out of my country” before the shooting.
Grillot was reportedly shot while attempting to come to the aid of the other men.
Both Howe and Eric Jackson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City office, said it was too early in the investigation to determine if the crime could be classified as a hate crime.
“We’re less than 24 hours in,” Howe said. “We want to be sure of the facts versus speculation.”
Jackson said it was not “uncommon” for joint federal and local law enforcement investigations into possible hate crimes.
Tom Beall, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas, said his office would be evaluating the case as more facts are gathered in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice.
“There will probably be more to come later from us,” Beall said.
Officials said that dozens of witnesses have been questioned and the investigation is ongoing.
About five hours after the shooting, Purinton was arrested at an Applebee’s in Clinton, Mo.
According to Clinton police, an Applebee’s bartender called police after Purinton allegedly said he had killed two Middle Eastern men.
Later Thursday, he appeared before a judge in Henry County, Mo., and agreed to not fight extradition back to Kansas to face charges.
It was not known late Thursday afternoon how soon he will be transported back to Johnson County.