SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Two days after the fatal shooting of her husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, his widow has begun publicly seeking answers to what she perceives as a rise in American hate crimes.
“I have a question in my mind: Do we belong?” said Sunayana Dumala, who like her husband traveled from India to attend a U.S. college.
“We’ve read many times in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening,” she said during a news conference at Garmin headquarters, where Kuchibhotla worked as an aviation systems engineer. “And we always wondered, how safe?”
Dumala is returning to India for her slain husband’s funeral, and said she wishes to return to Olathe, KS., fulfilling her husband’s wishes for an American life and “me being successful in any field I choose.” But before she can do that, “I need an answer,” she said. “I need an answer from the government. …What are they going to do to stop this hate crime?”
Adam W. Purinton, a 51-year-old Navy veteran, was charged in the shooting with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Purinton allegedly opened fire on Kuchibhotla and a friend, Alok Madasani of Overland Park, at Austins Bar & Grill. The shootings are also being investigated as a possible hate crime, the FBI said.
More than 200 Garmin employees attended the 90-minute function which Dumala Kuchibhotla spoke at. Madasani, safely released from the hospital after the shooting, was also in attendance, aided by a pair of crutches. In the afternoon news conference, company officials, along with Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland, pledged their support for Kuchibhotla’s family and resolved to emerge from the tragedy as a community further united.
“On Wednesday night, our family and our community was torn apart by a senseless act of hate and violence,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin president and CEO. “This has been a very difficult time as friends and co-workers of Srinivas Kuchibhotla are grieving and we cannot make sense of the situation.”
Kuchibhotla arrived in the United States in 2005 with a visa to attend the University of Texas-El Paso. His widow said they met online when she was considering attending UTEP. After a six-year courtship, they married in 2012 and bought what Dumala called their “dream house” in a new Olathe subdivision. They were planning on having children when he was murdered, she said.
Information from The Kansas City Star contributed to this report.