US & Canada

Kansas shooting suspect Purinton charged with Olathe hate crime

Adam Purinton appears in court. Image copyright AP
Image caption Witnesses say Adam Purinton shouted "get out of my country" before opening fire

A man accused of shooting dead one Indian man and injuring another at a bar in the US state of Kansas faces hate crime and firearms charges, the justice department says.

Adam Purinton is accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding Alok Madasani at the bar in the city of Olathe in February.

Mr Purinton also allegedly shot a bar patron who tried to intervene.

The attack drew worldwide condemnation and shocked the Indian-US community.

Mr Purinton was charged in February with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Federal prosecutors announced Friday that the 52-year-old was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly targeting two of the victims "because of their actual and perceived race, colour, religion and national origin".

He allegedly fired on Mr Kuchibhotla and his friend Mr Madasani, two 32-year-old Indian men who worked as engineers at GPS-maker Garmin, because he thought they were Iranian.

Witnesses said he inquired if their status in the US was legal before shouting "get out of my country" and opening fire.

Mr Kuchibhotla died and Mr Madasani survived. A third man, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, was wounded trying to intervene.

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Media captionKansas shooting 'hero' counted the gunman's shots

The US justice department indictment said that Mr Purinton "committed the offenses after substantial planning and premeditation".

It said he "attempted to kill more than one person in a single criminal episode, and knowingly created a grave risk of death to others on the scene".

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Media caption"He asked us if we were in the US legally"

The maximum penalty for such an offence is death or life in prison. The justice department said that a decision on whether to seek capital punishment would be made later.

After the shooting, Mr Purinton allegedly told a barmaid in nearby Clinton he had just opened fire on some "Iranian people".

Image caption Mr Kuchibhotla and his wife came to the US in pursuit of a better life

The fallout from the attack reverberated across India and the large Indian community in the US.

US President Donald Trump condemned the shooting in a speech to Congress after earlier facing criticism for his silence on the attack.

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