Nearly a week after a triple shooting in Olathe sparked a federal inquiry into possible hate crimes, President Donald Trump made his first public statement on the attack.
In a joint speech to Congress on Tuesday night, Trump condemned the shooting that left Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, dead.
Kuchibhotla’s Garmin co-worker Alok Madasani, of Overland Park, and bystander Ian Grillot were wounded in the shooting Feb. 22 at Austins Bar & Grill near 151st Street and Mur-Len Road.
Kuchibhotla and Madasani are from India.
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The FBI confirmed earlier Tuesday that it is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
Trump opened the joint address by denouncing the Kansas City area attack and a recent wave of anti-Semitism.
“We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said.
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.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Kansas Republican, said Tuesday afternoon he contacted the White House to urge Trump to condemn the shooting.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, also called on Trump to repudiate Islamophobia during his speech.
In an editorial on Monday, The Star also called on Trump to denounce the violent act during his address to Congress.
“It would be nice for some kind of closure,” Grillot said.
In addition to Yoder, other Kansas Republicans reacted to Trump’s condemnation of the shooting.
Sen. Jerry Moran said he appreciated hearing the president acknowledge the recent attack in Olathe, “and condemn the hatred that fueled this senseless act.”
“This tragedy — motivated by prejudice and xenophobia — that took a Kansan’s life will not be tolerated.” Moran said.
Sen. Pat Roberts said he was “proud” of Trump’s speech.
“In the first words of his joint address, President Trump strongly condemned the ‘hate and evil’ of the tragic shootings and murder in Olathe,” Roberts said. “President Trump led with unity against evil in all of its ugly forms. I am proud this unity against violence and ignorance is already on display in Olathe and around our state.”