Wife of man murdered in Olathe shooting says US must stop hate c - KCTV5

Wife of man murdered in Olathe shooting says US must stop hate crimes

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Sunayana Dumala speaks about her husband during a vigil held at Garmin in Olathe. (KCTV) Sunayana Dumala speaks about her husband during a vigil held at Garmin in Olathe. (KCTV)
OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -

Friday was a long day for Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s widow, his coworkers at Garmin, those in his home country of India, members of the Olathe community, and those with Indian heritage who live in the U.S.

When a vigil was held for Kuchibhotla at Garmin Friday morning, the auditorium was packed.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed in a shooting at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe on Wednesday. Two other people were injured in the shooting that witnesses have said was racially motivated based off of comments made before shots were fired.

Related: Olathe restaurant reopens after tragic shooting

The shooter, 51-year-old Adam Purinton, was taken into custody about five hours later after he told a bartender at an Applebee's 70 miles away in Clinton, Missouri that he had been involved in a shooting. Specifically, he reportedly said that he had killed two Middle Eastern men.

People present at the vigil heard from Sunayana Dumala, Kuchibhotla’s widow, as well as officials with Garmin and the city of Olathe.

“He has taken a life, a very lovable soul, from everyone,” Dumala said, speaking publicly for the first time since the fatal shooting that took her husband from her.

Dumala said her husband was a loving, devoted, hardworking man who always encouraged her even when she was scared something like this could happen.

“We've read many times in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening everywhere and we always wondered how safe, but I especially, I was always concerned ‘Are we doing the right thing, us staying in the United States of America?” she said. “He always assured me that only good things happen to good people. Always think good, always be good, and good will happen to you.”

She said her husband was just enjoying a beer with his friend after work and letting go of the day’s stress. She said, “Even though that guy was talking so discriminately about his race, he was still minding his own business.”

Related: Purinton asked 2 victims about visa status prior to shooting

“He did not deserve a death like this,” she said. “I need an answer. I need an answer from the government… What is it they’re going to do to stop these hate crimes?”

"We were planning to have kids," she said. "We were working on that. I wish we had one so that I could have seen him in the child. I no longer have that option. I just have his memories."

As she continues to process the loss of her husband, his family in India is understandably shaken as well. Kuchibhotla’s father told reporters that "there is no way we can get over his loss".

Alok Madasani survived the shooting and got out of the hospital on Thursday. His father, Jagan Mohan Reddy, said to a reporter out of New Delhi: “The situation seems to be pretty bad after Trump took over as the U.S. president. I appeal to all the parents in India not to send their children to the U.S. in the present circumstances.”

Kuchibhotla and Madasani were good friends. They both received engineering degrees in India. Madasani went to UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering from 2006 to 2008 and graduated with a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering.

Investigators in the U.S. may not be calling the shooting a hate crime, but in the victims’ home country of India, there is no doubt that’s exactly what it was.

KCTV5 has spoken with one of the news editors covering this story there. He said there is a real fear for other Indian family members living in the U.S.

Related: Governors, legislators react to fatal Olathe bar shooting

Members of the Olathe community echoed that sentiment on Thursday as well.

“It happened under circumstances that I always thought,” Shabina Kavimandan said. “People look for physical symbols and yet there was no physical determination to say they were Middle Eastern and yet this person went out and shot them.”

For Kavimandan, the thought that the two men could be targeted worries her not just for her own safety, but for how things move forward from here.

The White House responded to claims that this type of crime is a direct result of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration. According to Reuters News, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “The loss of life in Kansas was tragic, but that it would be absurd to link the action to Trump’s rhetoric.”

Purinton was charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder on Friday and is being held on a $2 million bond. He is due in court at 1:30 p.m. on Monday.

More coverage: 

Shooting of 2 Indians in Olathe bar sends shock waves in India

Olathe community rallies around shooting victims

Olathe bar shooting suspect extradited to Johnson County

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