The wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was shot dead in a Kansas City bar in an apparent hate crime, held a press conference on Friday demanding answers from the government over the measures US would take to safeguard its minorities.
Sunayana Kuchibhotla said she was concerned about the shootings and doubted if her family should stay in the US although, she said, her husband had assured her saying: “Good things happen in America.”
Srinivas, an aviation engineer who was working at Garmin, was killed by navy veteran Adam Purinton at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe on Wednesday night. His companion Alok Madasani Alok Reddy survived the shooting and was recovering from his injuries.
Here’s the full transcript of Sunayana’s speech:
Good afternoon everyone,
My husband came to [the] United States with lots of dreams in his mind. He came here in 2005 August to pursue Masters from University of Texas, El Paso. He got a job in Rockwell Collins, Iowa, he worked there for six years, before moving to Garmin. We made Kansas our home, we made Olathe our home. We got our dream house, our first house together.
He painted the whole living area by himself, only in this Jan...last January....summer. He was a very passionate person. His passion was aviation. He wanted to succeed so much in this industry, and do so much for this country. And, he for sure.... He did not deserve a death like this. In two weeks he would have celebrated his 33rd birthday....March 9th is his birthday.
I don’t know what to say...we’ve read many times in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening everywhere. And we always wondered, how safe, or I especially, I was always concerned: ‘Are we doing the right thing of staying in [the] United States of America?
But he always assured me that ‘only good things happen to good people. Always think good, always be good. And good will happen to you’.
And he was just doing the same thing that night. He was just enjoying his glass of beer, to get off from his work stress....Have some fun time with his friend.
And this guy started talking...even though that guy was talking so discriminately about his race, he was still minding his own business. The bar management people let him go.
My husband should’ve moved out from there, but he thought, ‘Why should I? Because I am not a drunk’. Knowing him, I can say, he was sitting there because he was not doing anything wrong.
But that guy came back, and he did what he had to do. He has taken a life, a very lovable soul from everyone. His parents, my parents, our entire family back home is in grief. I don’t know what answer I have to give to his mother, of why I was not able to save him.
The country that he loved so much. I told him many a times, ‘Should we think about going back? Should we think about going to a different country? He said ‘No’. ‘Let’s just see. Let’s wait and see.’
And I need an answer. I need an answer from the government. I need an answer for everyone out there that what is there they’re gonna do to stop this hate crime. Not just for my husband, who lost his battle in this, but for everyone, all those people, of any race, either Asian, African, American, any race that have lost their loved ones to something bas as this.
I was told that that guy very proudly went to another bar and told that he shot two Muslim guys. How did he decide that by the colour of a person? Does the colour of the person state that he is a Muslim, a Hindu or a Christian? No. So how did that guy decide that?
So what I just wanna say is as much as I know my husband, he would want justice to be done. And we need an answer of what they’re gonna do.
I don’t know if this is the right platform to talk about this, but, the government has to make sure that I can come back to this country at my will to pursue his dreams of me being successful...me being successful in any field that I choose. And I have to fulfil his dreams, right here where he started.
Thank you so much.
We were planning for a family. We were planning to have kids. We were working on that. I wish we had one, so that I could have seen him in the child. I now even don’t have that option. I just have his memories. That’s it. (In reply to a question from media)