Tim Hibbard had just sat down at Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe and ordered some nachos when gunshots rang out Wednesday night.
Within seconds, he was caught in a flood of people spilling out of the bar in terror, running through the parking lot and down the street, knocking on the doors of strangers’ homes in search of safety, as he described in a blog post over the weekend.
“I heard ‘POP! POP!’, then screams, yelling and more ‘POPS!’ ” Hibbard wrote. “Like water breaching a dam, people flooded out of the adjacent room and into the narrow hallway where I was sitting at the bar. I ducked under my chair, struggling to get any sort of grip on whatever reality this was.”
Like many others, Hibbard, a partner in a Lenexa software firm, happened to be in the bar to witness the triple shooting that left one dead and two injured. The man charged in the shooting, Adam Purinton, 51, allegedly shouted racial slurs at two men before opening fire. Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, an engineer at Garmin Ltd., was killed in the attack. His friend and fellow engineer Alok Madasani, 32, and bar patron Ian Grillot, 24, were injured.
Hibbard, who now lives in South Carolina, was in town on a business trip. In the blog post, he recounts the horror and fear experienced by those who witnessed the shooting and how, over the following days, his own thoughts turned to the political climate of the country and the danger of guns.
“We live in a world where intolerance toward minorities and foreigners is encouraged from the top down. ‘Get out of my country!’ — That is a real thing, that a real person said to another real person on February 22nd before shooting him,” Hibbard wrote.
“We live in a world where the rights of guns are more important than the lives of people.”
Read the full blog post, “I Survived the Austins Shooting in Olathe,” here.