NEW YORK, Feb 24: A Sikh civil rights group has urged members of the Sikh-American community to exercise caution and be extra vigilant in the wake of a possible hate crime in Kansas city that left one Indian engineer dead and another injured.
The Sikh Coalition said its prayers go out to the family of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32 who was killed when 51-year-old Olathe man Adam Purinton shot him at a bar in the city on Wednesday.
Another Indian engineer Alok Madasani, 32 was injured in the incident and has now been released from hospital yesterday. Purinton has ben charged in Johnson County District Court with two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Bond has been set at USD 2 million.
The advocacy group urged “every Sikh-American to exercise extra vigilance and caution during this period of heightened vulnerability.”
It urged members of the community to call law enforcement immediately if they have been a victim of hate violence or received threats of violence.
Kuchibhotla worked in aviation systems for Olathe-based Garmin Ltd. Madasani was his co-worker at Garmin.
“It was a tragic and senseless act of violence,” Olathe Police Chief Steven Menke said in The Kansas City Star.
Another individual Ian Grillot, 24 was reportedly shot while attempting to stop Purinton.
Grillot said he was happy to see Madasani is recovering.
Following the shooting, Olathe residents went to the bar where the incident took place to lay flowers and offer condolences to the staff, patrons and victims’ families.
“You just can’t help but your heart goes out to them, and it’s such a sad story for the community but I just wanted to support and of course honor the lives and everybody involved,” nearby business owner Amber McCracken said in a report in KSHB Kansas City.
The shooting has shaken the tight-knit Indian community in Olathe, according to Shabina Kavimandan, who was among those laying flowers at the site.
“We take pride in the fact that we come and we become a part of this society and then when things like this happen you just stop in your tracks and you realize that yes you are a little different,” said Kavimandan.
“When we pull back the layer then we realized, oh, gun violence was actually somebody killing people because they are different, that adds another layer to it. That’s when it became really hard to really make sense of this.” (PTI)