911 Call: Kansas Bar Shooting Suspect Said He'd Killed ‘Iranians'

A man wounded in the attack last week said at a vigil Sunday that the incident "doesn't reflect the true spirit of Kansas"

A bartender at the restaurant where a man was arrested last week for an apparently racially motivated bar shooting in Kansas told a 911 dispatcher that the man admitted shooting two "Iranians" and needed a place to stay for a couple of days.

A recording from Henry County, Missouri, 911 reveals that the bartender warned police not to approach the building with sirens blaring or the man would "freak out" and "something bad's going to happen."

According to witnesses, the shooter yelled "get out of my country" at two 32-year-old Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, before he opened fire at Austin's Bar and Grill in the Kansas City suburb on Wednesday evening.

Kuchibhotla was killed and Madasani injured. The two had come to the U.S. from India to study, and they worked as engineers at GPS-maker Garmin. A third patron, Ian Grillot, 24, was wounded when he tried to intervene.

The shooter, Adam Purinton, 51, of Olathe, appeared by closed-circuit TV before a Johnson County District Court judge Monday on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder. Purinton was wearing a safety smock meant to keep him from harming himself during his first court appearance.

A Johnson County Sheriff's Department spokesman, Master Deputy Rick Howell, said suspects who make statements during initial jail processing that could suggest they might harm themselves are required to wear the smocks until mental health professionals say otherwise. 

Howell would not disclose what Purinton said at the time he was being processed or whether he is considered a suicide risk.

Public defender Michael McCulloch declined to comment. Purinton's next court appearance is set for March 9.

The incident drew the attention of Hillary Clinton Monday. In a tweet, she called on President Donald Trump to speak out about "threats & hate crimes on [the] rise," and linked to a Kansas City Star article that quoted Kuchibhotla's wife seeking answers on how the U.S. stops hate crimes. 

Soon thereafter, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the "early reports out of Kansas are equally disturbing" as threats and vandalism that targeted the Jewish community across the United States.

After the shooting, Purinton, who is white, drove 70 miles east to an Applebee's restaurant in Clinton, Missouri, where he made the shocking admission to the bartender.

In the 911 call, the bartender told the dispatcher a man had come into the bar and said he'd done something "really bad" and was on the run from the police.

"He asked if he could stay with me and my husband, and he wouldn't tell me what he did. I kept asking him, and he said that he would tell me if I agreed to let him stay with me," the bartender said. "Well, I finally got him to tell me and he said, like, that he shot and killed two Iranian people in Olathe...."

Authorities have declined to discuss a possible motive for the attack or to say if they were investigating it as a possible hate crime. But the incident has raised concern about the treatment of immigrants, who feel targeted by President Donald Trump's promises to ban certain travelers, build a wall along the Mexico border and put "America first."

The University of Kansas Health System released a video Sunday of an interview with Grillot, of Grandview, Missouri, who is recovering after a bullet went through his right hand and into his chest.

Grillot said he had to do something because there were families and children in the bar when the gunfire erupted. Grillot said he is grateful that the attack is bringing the community together and that it is "awesome honestly to be able to give people a hope that not everybody hates everybody."

Madasani addressed a crowd of hundreds during a vigil Sunday night at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas.

He described the killing of Kuchibhotla, his friend and co-worker, as "a senseless crime," the Kansas City Star reported.

"The main reason why I am here is that's what my best friend, Srinivas, would have done," Madasani said. "He would have been here for me."

"I wish it was a dream," Madasani said.

Still walking on crutches, Madasani drew applause when he called the shooting "an isolated incident that doesn't reflect the true spirit of Kansas, the Midwest and the United States."

At the vigil, Madasani recalled how Kuchibhotla never complained about picking him up and driving him to work for six months.

"He waited till I bought a car. That's the kind of guy he was — is," Madasani said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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