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Kansas vigil: Indian injured in shooting says ‘senseless crime killed my friend’

Indian engineer Alok Madasani, friend and colleague of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, told the crowd “I wish it was a dream.”

world Updated: Feb 28, 2017 20:18 IST
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press, Kansas
Kansas shooting,Srinivas Kuchibhotla,Alok Madasani
Alok Madasani and his wife Reepthi Gangula at the candlelight vigil for Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Olathe, Kansas, on Sunday.(Reuters)

The Indian engineer injured in a ‘hate crime’ shooting at a Kansas bar last week spoke at a weekend vigil, saying “I wish it was a dream.”

Alok Madasani, 32, told a crowd of hundreds at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas, on Sunday that “what happened that night was a senseless crime that took away my best friend”, reported The Kansas City Star, a local daily.

Madasani’s friend and co-worker, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died when a US navy veteran, Adam Purinton, opened fire on them after yelling racial abuses and telling them to “get out of my country”. The incident took place on Wednesday night at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe. Another patron, Ian Grillot, 24, who jumped in to save the two Indians, was also wounded.

Laura Grillot (right) and her sister Maggie talk about their brother Ian, who was injured while trying to stop a gunman who killed Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla at a local bar, during a vigil in Olathe, Kansason Sunday. ( Reuters )

“The main reason why I am here is that’s what my best friend, Srinivas, would have done,” Madasani said. “He would have been here for me.”

Madasani and Kuchibhotla worked for GPS device-maker Garmin. At the vigil, Madasani recalled how Kuchibhotla never complained about picking him up and driving him to work for six months.

“He waited till I bought a car. That’s the kind of guy he was - is,” Madasani said.

Purinton, 51, of Olathe, is scheduled to appear in court Monday. He faces first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder charges. According to witnesses to the attack, Purinton yelled “terrorist” at the two men before firing.

Madasani called the shooting “an isolated incident that doesn’t reflect the true spirit of Kansas, the Midwest and the United States”, drawing applause from the audience at the vigil.

Olathe mayor Mike Copeland, state senator Rob Olson, Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and other elected officials also spoke at the event.

“When you grieve, we all grieve,” Copeland said. “We will not let one act of evil separate us or divide us.”

First Published: Feb 27, 2017 16:11 IST