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‘People can forget me, but not him’; 1 year later, Kuchibhotla’s widow reflects on Kansas shooting

Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, an Indian immigrant who lived in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, was shot to death last February at Austins Bar & Grill

world Updated: Jan 15, 2018 21:30 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press, Olathe
Kansas,Kansas Shooting,Srinivas Kuchibhotla
Sunayana Dumala, left, talks about her late husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, during a news conference at Garmin Headquarters in Olathe, Kan., Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (AP File Photo)

The widow of an Indian man killed last February in a suspected hate crime in suburban Kansas City has spent the year since his death devoting herself to spreading love and positivity in his name.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, an Indian immigrant who lived in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, was shot to death last February at Austins Bar & Grill. Adam Purinton is charged with first-degree murder in Kuchibhotla’s death and also faces federal hate crimes charges. Witnesses have said Purinton, who is white, yelled, “Get out of my country,” at Kuchibhotla and another Indian national before opening fire. A third man was wounded when he tried to intervene.

Kuchibhotla’s wife, Sunayana Dumala, become increasingly outspoken against hate in an effort to share her husband’s legacy.

“I can’t let people forget him,” Dumala, told The Kansas City Star . “That is what is making me spread his legacy, and I hope I’m getting there. I hope I succeed and the name Srinivas Kuchibhotla stays there forever.

“People can forget me, but not forget him.”

Dumala has plans for a peace walk in early March, around Kuchibhotla’s birthday, and she is thinking of ways to raise intercultural awareness in younger children.

In the year since her husband’s death, she also has received support, including in the form of letters and donations from around the world. Her husband’s employer, GPS Device-maker Garmin, honored him, and a painting of Kuchibhotla hangs at the company’s Olathe headquarters.

One of the issues Dumala has had to deal with is that her visa ended when Kuchibhotla was killed. U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Kansas Republican, helped her get a temporary one, and she recently learned she had been granted a new visa that will allow her to travel back to India next month for the anniversary of Kuchibhotla’s death.

“We believe he reached heaven,” she said, “so we’re praying for him to be happy and have that peace.”

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 21:30 IST