- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Justice Department brought federal hate crime charges Friday against Adam Purinton, a white man accused of opening fire inside a suburban Kansas City bar earlier this year after leveling ethnic slurs at two Indian nationals.

A federal grand jury has indicted Mr. Purinton, 52, on hate crime and firearm charges in connection with the Feb. 22 incident inside Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Witnesses said Mr. Purinton used racial slurs and shouted “get out of my country” before shooting at Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, two aviation engineers originally from Hyderabad, according to investigators. Kuchibhotla died from his injuries, but Mr. Madasani and a third man who attempted to intervene, Ian Grillot, managed to survive.

Mr. Purinton had been ejected from the bar earlier that evening but returned to open fire, according to witnesses. He was arrested several hours later after allegedly confessing to a bartender about 70 miles east in Clinton, Mo., and was subsequently charged by Johnson County prosecutors with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He’s been held on a $2-million bond ever since.

A federal grand jury has since concluded Mr. Purinton targeted the men “because of their actual and perceived race, color, religion and national origin,” the Justice Department said in unsealing its indictment Friday.

“The indictment alleges that Purinton committed the offenses after substantial planning and premeditation, attempted to kill more than one person in a single criminal episode and knowingly created a grave risk of death to others on the scene,” the statement said.

Mr. Purinton may face a maximum sentence of death if convicted, the Justice Department said. Prosecutors will determine at a later date if the state will seek the death penalty, according to the announcement.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said his office plans on continuing its prosecution while working alongside federal authorities, the Kansas City Star reported Friday. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas, meanwhile, said federal prosecutors will coordinate with Mr. Howe as both agencies pursue separate but related cases against Mr. Purinton.

“I’m so glad that things are moving faster than we thought,” Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, told the Star on Friday. “I always had faith that justice would be served.”

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