HYDERABAD, India (AP) – The shooting of two Indians in a crowded suburban Kansas City bar has sent shock waves through their hometowns, and India’s government is rushing diplomats to monitor progress in the investigation into the crime.
Jaganmohan Reddy, father of Alok Madasani, an engineer who was injured in the shooting Wednesday night, said he thought it was a hate crime. He said such incidents have increased after the recent political changes in the United States.
The second victim, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, also an engineer, was fatally shot. He came from Hyderabad, the capital of southern Telangana state, said Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup.
Mourners poured into Kuchibhotla’s home in Hyderabad, with his shocked parents Madhusudhan Rao and Vardhini Rao unable to talk since they received the news of his death. They have another son working in the United States and a third employed in India.
Swarup said two Indian consulate officials from Houston and Dallas were sent to Kansas City to meet with Madasani and facilitate the return of Kuchibhotla’s body to India.
The suspect, Adam Purinton, has been taken into custody and was charged Thursday with murder and attempted murder.
Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old American who jumped to the defense of the Indians in the bar, was hailed as a hero by local media. He also was injured in the incident.
“Decency and humanity always triumph in the end, but not without struggle and sacrifice,” said Jayaprakash Narayan, a Hyderabad-based activist who lauded Grillot’s bravery.
The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi strongly condemned the shooting in Olathe, Kansas.
“The United States is a nation of immigrants and welcomes people from across the world to visit, work, study, and live. U.S. authorities will investigate thoroughly and prosecute the case, though we recognize that justice is small consolation to families in grief,” Charge d’Affaires MaryKay Carlson said.
Reddy said he learned about the shooting from his eldest son, who lives in Dallas. His younger son moved to the U.S. in 2008 for his master’s degree. “But he never faced any problems,” he told reporters in Warangal, a town in the southern Indian state of Telangana.
Reddy, who has spoken with his injured son over the phone, said he is worried about his safety and wants him to come back to India. “I request other parents to think twice before sending their children to the United States,” he said.
In 2016, a Sikh professor was allegedly attacked in New York by a group of men who called him “Osama” and “terrorist.” He was apparently mistaken for a Muslim. Hindu and Sikh shrines were vandalized in California and Wisconsin in 2013 with the word “terrorist” scrawled on their walls in apparent hate crimes.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.