The VICE Guide to Right Now

White House Says the Shooting of Two Indian Men in Kansas Was Likely 'Racially Motivated'

The FBI also announced Tuesday that it would be investigating the fatal shooting as a hate crime.

by Allie Conti
01 March 2017, 3:30am

Adam Purinton. Photo by Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star via AP, Pool

Almost a full week after a 51-year-old bar-goer reportedly shouted "get out of my country" before murdering an Indian man, the White House denounced the act as likely "racially motivated hatred," according to Agence Presse-France.

"As more facts come to light and it begins to look like this was an act of racially motivated hatred," Sarah Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, told reporters, "we want to reiterate the president condemns these or any other racially or religiously motivated attacks in the strongest terms. They have no place in our country."

Last Wednesday, Adam Purinton allegedly walked into Austin's Bar and Grill outside of Kansas City and opened fire at two Indian patrons. He then drove 70 miles to an Applebee's where he confessed to a bartender that he had "done something really bad" to some people he erroneously believed to be from Iran. He was arrested without incident at the restaurant after staff called the police.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a 32-year-old Indian engineer, died at the hospital that night. Purinton has since been charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder for injuring Kuchibhotla's friend, Alok Madasani, and Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old who tried to intervene. The FBI announced Tuesday that it is investigating the Kansas bar shooting as a hate crime.

Madasani's parents have since warned other Indian parents not to send their children to the United States, saying the country is now dangerous for foreigners of color following Donald Trump's election. Trump campaigned on banning Muslims from entering the country, and soon after he took office, he issued an executive order that barred immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations.

Today's statement from the White House is the first time the administration acknowledged the attack since Friday, when press secretary Sean Spicer said that there was no correlation between the president's rhetoric and the shooting.

"Any loss of life is tragic," he said at the daily press conference. "But I'm not going to get into, like, that kind of––to suggest that there's any correlation, I think is a bit absurd."

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.