WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Kansas man who shot and killed an Indian software engineer and injured two others in February 2017 pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court to hate crime and firearm charges, the Justice Department said.
The shooting drew international attention as part of a wave of attacks nationwide against ethnic and religious minority groups following the 2016 election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has railed against illegal immigration.
The shooter, Adam Purinton, approached two Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, at a bar, demanding to know where they were from, calling one a terrorist and shouting, “Get out of my country!” Two other patrons escorted him out of the bar.
Purinton returned about a half-hour later and fired his semi-automatic pistol at the two men who he had harassed earlier. As he ran out, he shot another patron, Ian Grillot, who had chased him.
Kuchibhotla, a legal U.S. resident, died of his injuries. Madasani and Grillot survived.
“While we cannot ameliorate the irreparable harm to the victims and their families, we hope that securing this guilty plea brings them some measure of closure,” said Jesse Panuccio, an acting associate attorney general, in a statement.
Purinton had already pleaded guilty to state charges for murder and attempted murder, and was sentenced earlier in May to life in prison. The local prosecutor said at the time that Purinton will not be eligible for parole for 50 years.
The sentencing is scheduled for July 2, the Justice Department said, and, despite the Kansas sentence, both federal prosecutors and the defense are seeking the maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Marguerita Choy