Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on President Donald Trump to speak out against hate crimes in the wake of the murder of an Indian engineer last week at Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe.
Trump has yet to comment on the shooting, which also left two other victims injured. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, said last week that it was too early to call the act a hate crime.
Spicer referenced the shooting at a news conference Monday after voicing the president’s concerns about recents acts of vandalism against Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia.
“No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing freely and openly. The president has dedicated to preserving this originating principle of our nation,” Spicer said. “And while we’re at it, I don’t want to get ahead of law enforcement, but I was asked the other day about the story in Kansas, the shooting in Kansas. And while the story is evolving, early reports out of Kansas are equally disturbing.”
Earlier in the day, Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the recent presidential election, took to social media and called on Trump to take action.
“With threats & hate crimes on rise, we shouldn’t have to tell @POTUS to do his part. He must step up & speak out,” Clinton said on Twitter.
Clinton posted a link to a Kansas City Star article in which Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, said she needed an answer on how the U.S. government would work to stop hate crimes.
Adam W. Purinton, the alleged gunman, told Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, two Garmin engineers from India, to “get out of my country” before opening fire in Austins on Wednesday evening, according to witness accounts.
Ian Grillot, 24, intervened and was also shot. He continues to improve while hospitalized, the University of Kansas Health System said in an update Sunday.
Anita Kumar of McClatchy’s Washington Bureau contributed to this report.