KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- As the FBI announcing Tuesday afternoon that the agency is investigating the shooting at Austins Bar and Grill as a hate crime, one of the victims told reporters at a news conference what he saw and heard from suspect Adam Purinton the night of the shooting.
FOX 4's Shannon O'Brien was at the University of Kansas Hospital where Ian Grillot addressed the news media.
Grillot said he personally did not hear words from Adam Purinton, who is charged with one count of first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection to the shooting, to definitively prove that he allegedly targeted Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani because of their race, but Grillot said Purinton’s alleged actions leave little doubt.
"I didn't really hear what he was saying, I just saw and I can only imagine," Grillot recalled. "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."
Ian Grillot doesn't know exactly what precipitated the deadly shooting at Austins. The 24-year-old just saw two men he knew as regulars being harassed by who he identifies as Adam Purinton and escorted him out.
“’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.”
That insinuation Grillot understood to be about the color of Srinivas and Alok's skin.
Grillot said when Purinton came back to the bar about 30 minutes after he was kicked out, he was wearing "a scarf or something over his head trying to conceal his identity."
The two Indian men were clearly Purinton's targets as he opened fire.
“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.”
While Grillot declined to comment on whether or not he thinks Purinton should be charged with a federal hate crime, he said combating hatred should be the goal in making something good come out of this tragedy.
"There is just too much hate in this world, there is just no reason for it. Life is just too short. Perfect example, I almost lost mine Wednesday night. There is no reason for all of that hate."
The FBI defines a hate crime as "a criminal offense against a person or property ... motivated by an offenders bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity."
Hate itself is not a crime and the FBI is mindful in protecting people's freedom of speech and other civil liberties, but if investigators find the murder occurred because of the above mentioned qualifiers, that would be enough for federal charges.