Indians in US raise $100,000 for Kansas shooting hero Ian Grillot
Indian Americans have presented Ian Grillot, who suffered multiple bullet wounds in the Kansas shooting, with a check of $100,000, calling him a “genuine hero” who “risks his life for another, and takes a bullet for a complete stranger”.
“It is not every day that one meets a genuine hero — a person who risks his life for another, and takes a bullet for a complete stranger,” said Jiten Agarwal, a leading Indian American, at an event in Houston, Texas, on Friday where the check was given to Grillot.
“For he that sheds his blood for me today is my brother,” he added, using a variation of Shakespeare’s “For he today that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother”, according to a statement on Facebook posted by India House, a community centre run by Indian Americans.
“Ian Grillot is a man who reminds us of the promise of America and its greatness,” said Agarwal.
A very moved Grillot said after accepting the check, “I don’t know if I could’ve lived with myself if I wouldn’t have stopped or attempted to stop the shooter because that would’ve been completely devastating.
“I do now have a very powerful message and if I can help empower people and spread hope and love, then why not?”
The money, raised entirely by the Indian American community, is intended to help Grillot, 24, buy a house.
Grillot was shot in the arm and the chest when he tried to stop Adam Purinton who had opened fire on two Indian engineers at a bar in Olathe, Kansas in February, killing one of them, Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
The American was instantly hailed as a hero in India and in the US as a symbol of the larger and inclusive America that had seemed overrun by bigots, Islamophobes and immigrant-haters in the aftermath of the election of President Donald Trump.
A grateful India invited Grillot to visit, in a message from external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj conveyed to him by the Indian counsel-general in Houston, Anupam Ray.
And Indian Americans, a tiny but prosperous community of 3 million, raised money for him to help him buy a house, as an expression of their appreciation for what he had done, an initiative that was encouraged by the Indian counsel-general.