On what would have been the 34th birthday of Indian American engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the community March 9 spread a message of unity to the community through a memorial peace walk, led by Kuchibhotla’s widow Sunayana Dumala.
The walk, attended by hundreds, was a way to say that immigrants are “Forever Welcome” in the town, Fox4KC reported.
The community has come together since the Feb. 22, 2017, incident in which Adam Purinton opened fire on Kuchibhotla and his friend and coworker at GPS maker Garmin Alok Madasani at Austins Bar and Grill.
Purinton, who recently pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder and attempted murder charges (see India-West article here), reportedly shouted “get out of my country” prior to opening fire at the victims. In the shooting, intervener Ian Grillot was also injured.
“We’re gathered here today because of man’s one action and the hate that took of an innocent life," his widow, Sunayana Dumala, told the large crowd gathered outside of Garmin, according to the report. “You all being here is our answer to that one man, that our community believes in being united,” she said.
“It’s a terrible reason that we are here right now, but seeing the support for the community and the continued support a little year after it’s just absolutely wonderful," Grillot, who led the walk along with Dumala, said, according to the publication.
“When it happened that night, it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever gone through," Austin's co-owner Kirk Adams said, according to the report.
Dumala recently launched Forever Welcome, a Facebook page for immigrants who didn’t feel that way after the shooting, the report said.
“This is a great movement that she has started spreading love over hatred and getting everybody together," Sridhar Harohalli said in the report.
Added Olathe Mayor Michael Copleland: “Olathe will not let one act of evil define us. We are moving forward.”
Purinton will receive his sentence in May. He still faces federal hate crime charges that could carry the death penalty.