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Kansas Shooter Was Depressed, Not Racist, Defends Neighbor

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| February 27 , 2017 , 12:34 IST
[caption id="attachment_247761" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Adam Purinton and Srinivas Kuchibhotla Adam Purinton and Srinivas Kuchibhotla[/caption] A Kansas man accused of shooting two Indian immigrants and a third man at a bar, in what some believe was a hate crime, was always a drinker but became a "drunken mess" after his father died about 18 months ago, a longtime neighbour has said. Andy Berthelsen said his neighbour Adam Purinton, who is charged with murder and attempted murder in Wednesday night's attack, was very close to his father, who died of pancreatic cancer. He said in the past year, Purinton bounced from one menial job to the next and was sometimes drunk by mid-morning. But in the 15 years he's lived across the street from Purinton in Olathe, Berthelsen said he's never heard him make a racist remark or talk politics. ALSO READ: Indian Engineer Shot Dead At A Kansas Bar In US, Shooter Yells ‘Get Out Of My Country’ He said he doesn't believe the shooting stemmed from hatred, and that it likely resulted from Purinton's physical and mental deterioration. "This is someone who's gone downhill very quickly," Berthelsen told The Associated Press by phone yesterday. "He was a drunken mess." Purinton, 51, was arrested hours after the attack at a restaurant and bar about 110 kilometres from Olathe in Clinton, Missouri. He is jailed on murder and attempted murder charges, and he didn't have a lawyer as of yesterday, according to court records. ALSO READ: Shocked Twitterati Condole Death Of Indian Engineer Shot Dead In Kansas His first court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow. Purinton's mother, Marsha Purinton, told The New York Times that her son "snapped, and this is not his typical self." The newspaper said she declined to elaborate, and calls by the AP to a home listing believed to be hers got a busy signal. According to witnesses to the attack at Austins Bar and Grill, which is about a mile from Purinton's home, Purinton yelled "get out of my country" at the two Indian men before he opened fire. ALSO READ: Wife Of Indian Techie Shot Dead In Kansas, Asks US Govt ‘Do We Belong Here’ Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a 32-year-old engineer at GPS device-maker Garmin, was killed. His friend and colleague, 32-year-old Alok Madasani, and a man who tried to intervene, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, were wounded. Madasani was released from the hospital Thursday. Grillot remains hospitalised. Authorities on Friday declined to discuss a possible motive for the attack or to say if they were investigating it as a possible hate crime. But Madasani's father in India described it as such, and the incident has stoked fears about the treatment of immigrants, who feel targeted by President Donald Trump's promises to ban certain travelers, build a wall along the Mexico border and put "America first." The Kansas City Star, without citing its sources, reported that Purinton allegedly told a bartender at the Missouri restaurant where he was arrested that he needed a place to hide because he had just killed two Middle Eastern men.