A U.S. federal court has sentenced Adam Purinton of the U.S. state of Kansas to life in prison without parole for the racially motivated killing of an Indian national at a bar in February 2017.
In a statement released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the shootings “detestable” and said, “Such hateful crimes will remain a priority for the Department of Justice.”
The shooter at Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, killed engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injured his companion, Alok Madasani. The co-workers from a GPS navigation company were both from the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
A third victim, Ian Grillot, was shot when he chased Purinton as Purinton fled.
Tuesday’s ruling means Purinton will not receive the death penalty, after he pleaded guilty earlier this year to three federal hate crime charges. Hate crime charges were applied because Purinton was alleged to have targeted the Indian men because of their race, color, religion or national origin.
Witnesses said Purinton confronted the men, saying “Get out of my country,” before leaving the bar and returning with a gun. He later told a friend he had shot “two Iranians.”
After the shooting, Purinton was apprehended at a bar in Clinton, Missouri.
Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, said in a victim-impact statement that had he been asked, her husband “would have been more than happy to share his background” and show the shooter that “not every brown-skinned person is suspicious or evil.”
“Srinu and I came to the United States full of dreams and aspirations,” she said. “Now, my American Dream — and that of Srinu’s — is broken.”
Following the shooting, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj posted a statement on Twitter, saying he was “shocked” at the incident.