Kansas man sentenced to life in prison in fatal hate crime shooting

A Kansas man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for fatally shooting an engineer from India whom he called a "terrorist," prosecutors said, and for wounding two others.

Adam Purinton, 53, was sentenced to three consecutive sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole Tuesday morning after pleading guilty in May in Kansas federal court to a three-count indictment, which included hate crime and firearm charges.

Prosecutors said Purinton shot and killed 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounded his friend Alok Madasani, also from India, while they were at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, last February.

Ian Grillot, a good Samaritan who intervened, was also shot and injured.

Purinton, who originally pleaded not-guilty to the federal indictment, admitted to poking Kuchibhotla in the chest, calling him a "terrorist" and an epithet against people of Middle Eastern descent, and shouting, "Get out of my country!" according to a statement from the Justice Department.

20 PHOTOS
Adam Purinton
See Gallery
Adam Purinton
Adam Purinton, 51, accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani, 32, as well as an American who tried to intervene, appears with his public defender Michelle R. Durrett (R) via video conference from jail during his initial court appearance in Olathe, Kansas, U.S., February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star/Pool
OLATHE, KS - FEBRUARY 26: A candle light vigil is held at the end of the Prayer Vigil for the victims of the Austins Bar and Grill shooting on February 26, 2017 at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas. Adam W. Purinton has been arrested and charged in the shooting, which being investigated as a hate crime. An estimated 1,000 greater Kansas City community members attended the Peace March and Prayer Virgil. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images) Alok Madasani
Adam Purinton appeared by closed circuit TV in court from the Johnson County detention center Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Purinton appeared with his public defender, Michelle R. Durrett. (Jill Toyoshiba/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
Adam Purinton heads toward the room where he'll appear with his public defender, Michelle R. Durrett, on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Purinton appeared by closed circuit TV in court from the Johnson County detention center. (Jill Toyoshiba/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
Adam Wade Purinton, is shown in this Johnson County Jail booking photo in New Century, Kansas, U.S. on February 24, 2017. Courtesy Johnson County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
OLATHE, KS - FEBRUARY 26: Alok Madasani, wife Reepthi Gangula; and Laura and Maggie Grillot, sisters to shooting victim Ian Grillot listen to the final songs at the end of the Prayer Vigil on February 26, 2017 at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas. An estimated 1,000 people attended the Peace March that was held beforehand. Adam W. Purinton allegedly shot and killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounded Alok Madasani, and an Austins Bar staff worker, Ian Grillot in what's being investigated as a hate crime. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images) Alok Madasani ; Reepthi Gangula
Adam Purinton, 51, accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani, 32, as well as an American who tried to intervene, appearing via video conference from jail during his initial court appearance in Olathe, Kansas, U.S., February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star/Pool
Adam Purinton, 51, accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani, 32, as well as an American who tried to intervene, appears with his public defender Michelle R. Durrett (R) via video conference from jail during his initial court appearance in Olathe, Kansas, U.S., February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star/Pool
OLATHE, KS - FEBRUARY 26: U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) addresses the Prayer Vigil held for the victims of the Austins Bar and Grill shooting on February 26, 2017 in Olathe, Kansas. Adam W. Purinton has been arrested and charged in the shooting, which being investigated as a hate crime. An estimated 1,000 greater Kansas City community members attended the Peace March and Prayer Virgil. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images) Kevin Yoder
Adam Wade Purinton, is shown in this Johnson County Jail booking photo in New Century, Kansas, U.S. on February 24, 2017. Courtesy Johnson County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
OLATHE, KS - FEBRUARY 26: Alok Madasani and his wife Reepthi Gangula tear up while watching a dedication video during the Prayer Vigil that was held for the victims of the Austins Bar & Grill shooting on February 26, 2017 at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas. Adam W. Purinton allegedly shot and killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounded Alok Madasani, and an Austins Bar staff worker, Ian Grillot, in what's being investigated as a hate crime. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images) Alok Madasani ; Reepthi Gangula
OLATHE, KS - FEBRUARY 26: Maggie Grillot and Laura Grillot, sisters to shooting victim Ian Grillot, address Prayer Vigil on February 26, 2017 in Olathe, Kansas. Adam W. Purinton has been arrested and charged in the shooting, which being investigated as a hate crime. An estimated 1,000 greater Kansas City community members attended the Peace March and Prayer Virgil. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images) Maggie Grillot ; Laura Grillot
Adam Purinton, 51, of Olathe, Kansas, U.S. is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters February 24, 2017. Courtesy Clinton Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
OLATHE, KS - FEBRUARY 26: Maggie Grillot and Laura Grillot, sisters to shooting victim Ian Grillot, address the Prayer Vigil on February 26, 2017 at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas. Adam W. Purinton has been arrested and charged in the shooting, which being investigated as a hate crime. An estimated 1,000 greater Kansas City community members attended the Peace March and Prayer Virgil. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images) Maggie Grillot ; Laura Grillot
Adam Purinton, 51, accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani, 32, as well as an American who tried to intervene, is shown in closed circuit TV in court from the Johnson County detention center as Purinton heads towards a room with his public defender, Michelle R. Durrett (L) during his initial court appearance in Olathe, Kansas, U.S., February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star/Pool
Adam Purinton, 51, of Olathe, Kansas, U.S. is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters February 24, 2017. Clinton Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
OLATHE, KS - FEBRUARY 26: A woman prays in the crowd during Prayer Vigil that was held for the victims of the Austins Bar & Grill shooting on February 26, 2017 at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas. Adam W. Purinton allegedly shot and killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounded Alok Madasani, and an Austins Bar staff worker, Ian Grillot in what's being investigated as a hate crime. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)
Adam Purinton, 51, accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani, 32, as well as an American who tried to intervene, appears via video conference from jail during his initial court appearance in Olathe, Kansas, U.S., February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star/Pool
Adam Purinton appeared by closed circuit TV in court from the Johnson County detention center on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Purinton appeared with his public defender, Michelle R. Durrett. Purinton has admitted he fatally shot a Garmin engineer from India last year. (Jill Toyoshiba/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
OLATHE, KS - FEBRUARY 26: Alok Madasani, victim of the Austins Bar shooting, addresses the Prayer Vigil held for him, his friend who was killed, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and the man that tried to help, Ian Grillot on February 26, 2017 at the Ball Conference Center in Olathe, Kansas. Adam W. Purinton has been arrested and charged in the shooting, which being investigated as a hate crime. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

He then drove home, got one of his guns, and returned to the bar to carry out the shooting, prosecutors said.

"The crimes at issue in this case are detestable," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in part in a statement Tuesday. "The defendant acted with clear premeditation in murdering one man, and attempting to murder a second man, simply because of their race, religion, and national origin. As a result, a promising young life has been tragically cut short, and other lives have been filled with suffering."

Emails seeking comment sent to Purinton's federal defense attorneys were not immediately returned.

A spokesperson for Sunayana Dumala, Kuchibhotla's wife, said Dumala would not be attending Tuesday's sentencing.

In her victim-impact statement, Dumala described Kuchibhotla as kind, caring and always respectful of others.

She also had a message for Purinton.

"If you could have kept your anger inside and spoke to my husband softly, Srinu would have been more than happy to share his background and help you understand that not every brown skinned person is suspicious or evil, but kind, smart and contributing to America," Dumala said in part in her statement, according to the Justice Department. "Instead you chose to rage and bully in anger and when you were stopped, you decided to take their lives."

Purinton's sentencing on the federal indictment, which comes a little more than three months after he was sentenced on separate state charges, wraps up a case that sent shock waves through the Indian community both in the U.S. and overseas.

A few weeks before the Feb. 22, 2017, shooting, Purinton had been sitting alone in the bar area of Austins Bar and Grill when Kuchibhotla and Madasani just so happened to be having a drink on the patio, Purinton admitted in his plea agreement and testified in open court, according to the Justice Department.

After spotting the pair, Purinton said to a regular sitting at the bar, "Did you see the terrorists on the patio?" prosecutors said.

On the night of the shooting, Purinton sat again by himself, this time on the enclosed front patio, the Justice Department said. At a table to his right were Kuchibhotla and Madasani, to his left Grillot and several other patrons.

Purinton approached Kuchibhotla and Madasani at around 6:40 p.m., demanding to know where they were from and how they got into the country, prosecutors said.

Kuchibhotla worked as an aviation systems engineer and programs manager at GPS maker Garmin.

"Purinton poked Kuchibhotla in the chest, called him a "terrorist" and an epithet disparaging persons of Middle Eastern descent, and shouted, "Get out of my country!" the Justice Department statement said.

Grillot and another patron told Purinton he needed to leave and escorted him out of the bar.

That, the Justice Department said, is when Purinton got in his truck and drove back home — to get his nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol.

He also put on a different shirt and took a blue-and-white scarf with him to disguise his identity, prosecutors said.

A little more than a half hour later, Purinton returned to Austins Bar and Grill. Having wrapped the scarf around his face, a gun in hand, Purinton walked over to the enclosed front patio, opened the door and took aim at Kuchibhotla and Madasani, the Justice Department statement reads.

He fired off eight rounds, at least four of them hitting and mortally wounding Kuchibhotla, prosecutors said. One of the bullets also struck and injured Madasani.

Following the shooting, Purinton fled the bar while Grillot, the patron who had intervened earlier, gave chase, the Justice Department said. As Grillot caught up to him, Purinton turned around and opened fire, injuring Grillot.

Hours after the shooting, Purinton told a friend over the phone, and later a bartender in person, that "he had just killed some Iranians," according to the Justice Department statement.

Purinton admitted that he shot both Kuchibhotla and Madasani, attempting to kill both men, "because of their race, color, religion and national origin."

Follow NBC Asian America on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Read Full Story