A white U.S. Navy veteran charged with murdering an Indian software engineer at a Kansas bar was due in court on Monday over the shooting, which federal authorities are probing as a possible hate crime.
Adam Purinton, 51, is accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani, also 32, as well as an American who tried to intervene during Wednesday evening’s incident at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe.
The shooting in the Kansas City suburb led news bulletins in India, where some people suggested on social media that U.S. President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration had fueled a climate of intolerance.
A White House spokesman said on Friday that any loss of life was tragic, but that it was absurd to link the killing to Trump’s “America First” stance.
At least one bystander told the Kansas City Star he shouted “get out of my country” before shooting the Indian victims.
Purinton will be read charges of one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder at a hearing at Johnson County District Court scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (1930 GMT), a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office said.
The suspect was arrested hours after the shooting at an Applebees restaurant in Clinton, Missouri, about 80 miles (130 km) south of Olathe.
According to a recording of a 911 call made by a female bartender at the Applebees, Purinton said he needed to hide because he had killed two Iranian men, local NBC affiliate KSHB-TV reported.
“He wouldn’t tell me what he did. I kept asking him and he said he would tell me if I agreed to let him stay with me. I finally got him to tell me,” the bartender tells a dispatcher, according to the tape obtained by KSHB-TV. “He said he shot and killed two Iranian people in Olathe.”
Both the gunman’s Indian victims worked as engineers with navigation device maker Garmin Ltd.
Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old construction worker, was shot in the hand and chest as he tried to intervene. In video at the hospital where he was being treated, Grillot said he had been more than happy to risk his life for others.
“I couldn’t stand there, I had to do something,” Grillot said. “That’s why I acted the way I did.”
(Additional reporting and writing by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Andrew Hay)
Trump appointee flails in Senate hearing as he tries to explain contradictory Pentagon statements
In the wake of news reports that the Trump administration is considering sending an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East, potentially doubling the current amount of US troops sent to the region since May, the Pentagon's attempts to deny the revelations aren't going to well, according to Task & Purpose.
In a statement, Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah said that there are no plans for a troop increase "at this time."
"As discussed in the hearing today, we are constantly evaluating the threat situation around the world and considering our options," Farah said. "We adjust our force posture and troop levels based on adversary action and the dynamic security situation. Secretary Esper spoke to Chairman Inhofe this morning and reaffirmed that we are not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East at this time."
‘Make America 36th Out of 41 Developed Nations Again’: Social justice index of developed nations puts US near bottom
Meanwhile, the democratic-socialist Nordic countries of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden enjoy the top spots in detailed survey of OECD nations.
Not dead last, but close to it.
That's where the United States came out in a new survey of the world's 41 highly-developed nations measuring access to social justice and the opportunities they afford their respective citizens and residents.
Where’s the ‘secret’ White House Russia room? diplomat jokes
One of Moscow's top diplomats joked to President Donald Trump on Thursday after touring the White House that he was disappointed not to have seen the "secret" Russia room.
"Thank you for the tour of the White House," Vasily Nebenzya, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, told Trump at a lunch for the members of the UN Security Council.
"We saw the China room, but we didn't see the Russia room," Nebenzya said to laughter from around the table, adding that he wondered if such a room existed but was "top secret."
Nebenzya's quip followed remarks by China's UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, who thanked Trump for his hospitality, saying, "We have made a tour around this number of rooms: the green one, the red one and also the China room."