Ian Grillot, hiding behind a table, counted the gunshots. When he thought the gunman was out of bullets, he jumped up to pursue the man.
But the man who opened fire inside Austins Bar & Grill about 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday night still had one round left, and he used it to shoot Grillot. The bullet went through the 24-year-old Olathe man’s hand and into his chest.
“I guess I miscounted,” Grillot said Thursday from his hospital room, in a video released by the University of Kansas Health System. He had acted, he said, to try to stop a man who had just shot two other bar patrons, one of whom died.
“I wasn’t really thinking when I did that,” Grillot said. “It was just, it wasn’t right, and I didn’t want the gentleman to potentially go after somebody else.”
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Grillot, a 2010 graduate of Olathe North High School, remained hospitalized in stable condition and is expected to recover. Employees at Austins Bar & Grill said they weren’t surprised that Grillot, a bar regular there to watch a basketball game, stepped up to defend the two men when another was spouting racial slurs at them. Grillot was known by some employees to be the calm guy to defuse tense situations.
Grillot’s sister, Maggie, recounted the shooting in a Facebook message to update friends and others on his condition.
“He tried standing up for two people who were being wrongly bullied,” Maggie Grillot wrote.
Grillot was inside the Austins patio area when a man directed derogatory, racial statements at two men. At one point, suspect Adam Purinton, 51, of Olathe, was kicked out of the bar and then came back in “to open fire,” according to Grillot’s GoFundMe page.
At least one witness reportedly heard the suspect yell “get out of my country” shortly before shooting men he reportedly thought were Middle Eastern. Both men, engineers at Garmin, appear to be originally from India.
One of the victims, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, died of his injuries. Alok Madasani was released from a hospital Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, Grillot said, he looked up to see Madasani standing in his doorway.
“It just put the biggest smile on my face,” Grillot said. “I’m just very grateful that one of the gentlemen is fine and alive. It’s terrible what happened to his friend. But I think he was watching over us last night.”
Grillot said that he learned Madasani’s wife is five months pregnant and that he considers the engineer his new best friend. Grillot said he hopes the two can spend some time together when they get out of the hospital. “I don’t think it’s going to be at the bar, though,” he said. Maybe over a backyard grill and a couple of beers.
GoFundMe pages have been set up for all three men. Grillot’s family said, “he’s already worried about the medical bills this will create. Please share. Thank you again.”
By Thursday evening, Grillot’s GoFundMe page had raised more than $67,000. Kuchibhotla’s page had raised more than $161,000, and a page set up by a stranger for both Garmin employees had a little more than $19,000.
“Hero” is a word Grillot shied away from when recalling his part in the drama. “I was just doing what anyone should have done,” he said.
“It’s not about where he’s from, or ethnicity. We’re all humans.”