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'He was just enjoying his glass of beer': Family's distress after Indian men shot in 'hate crime'

India has demanded the “strongest action” from the US government over the incident.

Sunayana Dumala holds her heart while talking about her late husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
Sunayana Dumala holds her heart while talking about her late husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
Image: Orlin Wagner

THE WIFE OF an Indian man shot in a suspected hate crime in the USA has spoken of her distress over his death.

Sunayana Dumala’s husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla (32), was shot and killed inside a pub in Kansas on Wednesday, while his friend Alok Reddy Madasani (32) was wounded in the attack. Both worked as aviation systems engineers for GPS manufacturer Garmin.

A third man, who tried to intervene, was also shot in the incident but survived.

At a press conference, Dumala said of her husband:

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.

It has been reported that the suspect shouted “get out of my country” at the men.

On Wednesday, 51-year-old Adam Purinton was detained at a restaurant after he claimed he had killed two Middle Easterners.

He has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder and is being held on a $2 million bond.

The FBI is trying to determine if the shooting was a hate crime.

Kuchibhotla’s wife spoke of the couple’s concern about their safety in the USA. ”We’ve read many times in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening,” she said, according to the Kansas City Star. “And we always wondered, how safe?”

Bar Shooting Kansas Source: Orlin Wagner

Another man at the bar, Ian Grillot, was said to have stood up for the two men during the incident. He was shot in the arm and chest. In a video, Grillot said he was very grateful that Madasani had survived.

“I was told I was incredibly lucky,” added Grillot, who suffered serious injuries.

Demanding action

India has demanded the “strongest action” from the US government over the incident.

Indians at home and in the United States have also expressed shock at the shooting of the two young engineers.

The two men, who had been living in the US for the last few years, were targeted at a bar in Olathe, a suburb of Kansas City.

“USA should respond to this incident. American President and people of America, they should come out openly to condemn such actions… and then take strongest action,” Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying.

“These kind of incidents involving racial discrimination are shameful,” Naidu said in the southern city of Hyderabad where the victims’ families live.

They will dent the image of USA. So the US President, administration and civil societies should unequivocally respond and condemn such incidents.

Madasani has now been released from hospital and his parents were due to leave for the United States late this evening.

His father Jagan Mohan Reddy, a chief engineer with the Telangana state government, told AFP they would spend at least a week in the US before “taking stock of what to do (next)”.

They lost a dear friend (Kuchibhotla) in the attack but somehow, by God’s grace, my son survived.

He said his son and the deceased were very good friends and had known each other for at least six or seven years in the US.

“It is unthinkable that they have been separated like this,” Reddy added.

Bar Shooting Kansas Flags are at half mast at Garmin headquarters Olathe, Kansas. Source: Orlin Wagner

The shooting has made headlines in the Indian media, amid concern that the hardline immigration policies of President Donald Trump may have created the climate for such an attack.

The Indian community in the United States reached out over the weekend in solidarity with the victims.

“There’s no place for senseless violence & bigotry in our society,” tweeted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, one of the most prominent Americans of Indian descent.

My heart is with the victims & families of the horrific shooting in Kansas.

A GoFundMe online fundraiser page was quickly set up after the shooting, and as of today had collected more than $600,000.

- Additional reporting - © AFP, 2017

Read: Trump warned ‘don’t get too happy’ after poking fun at Democrats’ new chair>

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