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FBI investigating Olathe shooting as a hate crime

OLATHE, Kan. -- The Federal Bureau of investigation will be investigating Wednesday night's shooting at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe as a hate crime, according to a statement provided Tuesday afternoon.

The FBI continues to work jointly with the Olathe Police Department investigating the triple shooting and homicide that occurred on February 22, 2017, at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, KS. Based upon the initial investigative activity, the FBI, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, is investigating this incident as a hate crime. The FBI will continue to work jointly with Olathe Police Department and our state and local partners regarding this ongoing investigation. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time.

Adam Purinton

Adam Purinton

The question of whether or not the act constituted a hate crime loomed large over the incident, as witnesses reported that suspect Adam Purinton had said something to the effect of "get out of my country" to the two Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, before he shot them.

He later allegedly shot and wounded Ian Grillot when he tried to stop Purinton. Grillot himself talked to reporters Tuesday morning, and did not specifically say that he believes Purinton's actions were motivated by hate, but did say he has no doubt that the two Indian victims were targeted because of their race.

Ian Grillot

Ian Grillot

“The gentleman did specifically come back in and he didn’t go anywhere else when he came back with a gun that fateful Wednesday night. He went directly towards those men,” Grillot recalled. “It sounds pretty blatantly obvious what it was.”

He also noted when he escorted Purinton out of the bar before the shooting, Purinton made comments revealing that Srinivas and Alok’s race was an issue for him.

“’You’re gonna stick up for them, and not me?’” Grillot recalled Purinton saying. “And that’s when I kind of knew what he was insinuating.”

Purinton appeared in his first court hearing on Monday. He is being held on a $2 million bond and is scheduled to be back in court March 9.