Police, federal investigators look at hate crime motive in Olath - KCTV5

Police, federal investigators look at hate crime motive in Olathe restaurant shooting

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People in the community have been leaving tokens of love, grief and concern outside Austin's on Thursday. (KCTV5) People in the community have been leaving tokens of love, grief and concern outside Austin's on Thursday. (KCTV5)
OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -

While investigators have not confirmed racial bias was the motivation of a gunman who opened fire at an Olathe restaurant Wednesday night, people who witnessed the shooting believe there was. 

Law enforcement agencies have brought in federal authorities to look into that possible motive. 

People in the community have been leaving tokens of love, grief and concern outside Austin's on Thursday. 

“It’s not about the politics at this time," said community member Shabina Kavinandan. "It’s about us as individuals and what do we think of the person who’s sitting across from us.”

Amidst the commotion Wednesday, a man posted video online of two Austin's servers describing what preceded the shooting.

”We kicked a guy out for being racist and he came back and shot (inaudible)," a server on the video said. 

The FBI and US Attorney are working jointly with local authorities and say it’s much too early to say if it was a hate crime.

“If this violent crime is determined to be bias motivated, we will continue to conduct the investigation jointly," FBI Special Agent Eric Jackson said. 

The suspect was arrested five hours after and 80 miles away from the crime scene and this Applebee's in Clinton, MO - after police say he brought up the shooting in conversation with the bartender there.

“We were informed that there was an individual out there that was talking about an incident where he was involved in shooting some people in Olathe," said Olathe police captain Sonny Lynch. 

Investigators searched the suspects house Thursday, just one mile from Austin's. Neighbors say he drank to excess a lot lately but they never saw him get violent.

“When he drank he was passive," Morris said. "He would sit over there and drink all by himself.”

Austin's remains closed. They say they will be back open on Saturday. 

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