Government & Politics

White House condemns Olathe shooting after FBI announces hate crime investigation

Hours after the FBI announced it is investigating a triple shooting at an Olathe bar as a hate crime, a spokeswoman for President Donald Trump condemned the attack.

The attack left Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, dead.

Kuchibhotla’s Garmin co-worker Alok Madasani, of Overland Park, and bystander Ian Grillot were wounded in the shooting around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at Austins Bar & Grill near 151st Street and Mur-Len Road. Kuchibhotla and Madasani are from India.

The FBI confirmed earlier Tuesday that it is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.

According to The Hill, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday that Trump condemned the shooting as an “act of racially motivated hatred.”

“The president is keeping the family of the victim who were senselessly killed in his thoughts and we are praying for the full and speedy recovery of those who were wounded,” Huckabee Sanders said. “As more facts come to light — and it looks like this was an act of racially motivated hatred — we want to reiterate that the president condemns these and any other racially or religiously motivated attacks in the strongest terms.

“They have no place in our country and we will continue to make that clear.”

The condemnation comes six days after the crime, a delay many had criticized.

On Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Trump to speak out on the shooting.

“With threats & hate crimes on rise, we shouldn’t have to tell @POTUS to do his part,” Clinton tweeted. “He must step up & speak out.”

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Kansas Republican, said he contacted the White House earlier in the day to urge Trump to condemn the shooting during his Tuesday night address to Congress.

“I’ve been clear that the President must use this amazing platform to condemn this hateful act in no uncertain terms and send a powerful message that no American should be fearful in their own community,” Yoder said. “Diverse political and religious views are what make our country great, and I look forward to him utilizing this opportunity tonight.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, called on Trump to repudiate Islamophobia during his speech.

“It is time for him to clearly state that he is the president of all Americans, including American Muslims, and that he rejects Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.

In an editorial on Monday, The Star also called on Trump to denounce the violent act during his address to Congress.

A day later, Grillot said he, too, would like Trump to mention the shooting in his address.

“It would be nice for some kind of closure,” Grillot said.

Toriano Porter: 816-234-4779, @torianoporter