(Reuters) - A white U.S. Navy veteran accused of killing a man from India and wounding two other men when he opened fire at a Kansas bar, often complained about his ill health and was mourning his father’s death, according to a neighbour and local media reports.
Adam Purinton, 51, is charged with the premeditated murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, as well as the attempted murders of Kuchibhotla’s friend, Alok Madasani, 32, and American Ian Grillot, 24, who tried to intervene at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, a suburb of Kansas City.
Before opening fire, Purinton is accused of shouting “get out of my country,” a bystander told the Kansas City Star.
The attack, which is being investigated by federal agents as a possible hate crime, came as a surprise to residents living near Purinton’s longtime home at the end of a quiet Olathe cul de sac, about a mile from the murder scene.
“They’re shocked,” said Raymond Horspool, who lives a few houses away from Purinton, of his neighbourhood’s residents. Other neighbours told him the attack “seemed out of character.”
Purinton had lived in Olathe since 1998, records show. He was known by neighbours as a low-key fixture in the community, and as a regular of Austins who was generally friendly, said Horspool.
“He seemed nice,” another neighbour, Richard Morris, told Fox4KC. “It’s shocking to hear about what he’s accused of.”
Purinton once worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, said an agency spokesman, who declined to say how long Purinton was with the FAA or what position he held.
Since leaving the FAA in 2000, Purinton held a number of jobs, including working at a local liquor store and at an information technology business, according to local media.
Citing numerous interviews with neighbours past and present, the Kansas City Star reported that Purinton was often seen with a beer in his hand. Horspool said he had not seen Purinton drinking.
Relatives of Purinton did not respond to requests for comments on Friday. Neighbours interviewed by the Star and other nearby residents listed in public records were not immediately reachable by phone. Police have declined to give any personal details about Purinton so far, citing the ongoing investigation.
While Purinton usually kept to himself, neighbours said, when he did socialise he often talked with pride about his time in the Navy. He also exhibited an especially close relationship with his father.
But over the past year, Purinton had increasingly complained about his health and frequently visited the VA for medical testing, the Star reported.
“I just had a feeling he didn’t understand what was happening to him,” neighbour Carol Shimeall told the Star. “His words were, ‘They just take my blood and they throw it away. I‘m worthless.'”
After his father died about a year ago, Purinton also talked frequently about how he was grieving for him, the Star said.
But while he often appeared to be distressed, neighbour Michael Shimeall told the newspaper, he did not seem hostile.
“I never saw his temper or anything like that,” Shimeall said, adding that he was finding it hard to take in that Purinton was accused of murdering a man. “It’s very sad ... what happens to some people and that he would go off that way.”
Reporting by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa Shumaker