Indian community fearful after US shooting

  • 25/02/2017
Adam Purinton has been charged with premeditated murder (AAP)
Adam Purinton has been charged with premeditated murder (AAP)

The shooting death of an Indian engineer and the wounding of another man in a possible hate crime at a Kansas bar has raised fears among members of the area's fast-growing Indian-American community.

The suspected gunman, US Navy veteran Adam Purinton, 51, has been charged with the premeditated murder in Olathe, just outside Kansas City, of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and the attempted murder of Alok Madasani, also 32, as well as an American who tried to intervene.

Before opening fire, Purinton is accused of shouting "get out of my country," a bystander told the Kansas City Star.

Several members of the Kansas City area's Indian-American community said the attack had forced them to think about their safety.

"The main reaction is shock, because this is home," 45-year-old Samarpita Bajpai, who lives in suburban Overland Park and runs a non-profit Indian dance company said.

Ms Bajpai said that now for the first time in her nearly 20 years living in the Kansas City area she will try to refrain from being out late at night.

She said the local area had always been very welcoming and through her dance company, she tours US cities with a troupe of 10 dancers.

The shooting comes as some members of US minority groups have expressed unease with the political and social climate in the US. The Southern Poverty Law Centre said this month hate groups proliferated in 2016 as Donald Trump's bid for the US presidency energised the radical right.

A number of Jewish leaders have called on Trump to speak out against anti-Semitism following a spate of bomb threats to Jewish community centres, which Trump this week described as horrible.

The greater Kansas City area is home to about two million people with an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Indian-Americans, said Vijay Ainapurapu, the former president of the India Association of Kansas City.