Less than a week after a man opened fire in a crowded Kansas bar, killing one man and injuring two others, thousands of strangers from around the world have opened up their wallets to comfort the victims’ families.
Three separate GoFundMe accounts have between them raised more than $1 million in donations, which they pledge to help with the families’ medical expenses.
Wednesday’s shooting, allegedly carried out by 51-year-old Adam Purinton, targeted two Indian men in Olathe, Kan., a suburb of the Kansas City metro area. Purinton has been arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder for the attack, which witnesses say he opened by shouting racial slurs and yelling, “Get out of my country!”
One of the survivors, Alok Madasani, told The New York Times that before the shooting, the man sitting near Madasani and his friend Srinivas Kuchibhotla began addressing them with pointed questions.
“He asked us what visa are we currently on and whether we are staying here illegally,” Madasani told the paper on Friday. The Times notes Madasani and his friend were educated in the U.S. and working legally at Garmin, which has an office in town. “We didn’t react. People do stupid things all the time. This guy took it to the next level.”
The shooting that followed claimed Kuchibhotla’s life and left Ian Grillot, who sought to stop it, hospitalized with gunshot wounds in his hand and chest. The FBI is now investigating whether the shooting should also be considered a hate crime.
“We’ve set up this fund to help them with the funeral expenses and other ongoing grief / recovery support costs,” reads the GoFundMe page that pledges to send the donations to Kuchibhotla’s family. “This includes the very expensive process of carrying his mortal remains back to India, so his parents can say goodbye one last time to their beloved son.”
As of this posting, that campaign has drawn more than $600,000, well above its $150,000 goal. A fundraising campaigns pledging contributions for both Indian men has also raised roughly $89,000, while another for Grillot — created by his sisters — has raked in more than $375,000.
Citing GoFundMe, The Kansas City Star reports that as of Friday donations had come from “all 50 states, 25 nations and from some 18,000 donors so far.”
Meanwhile in India, NPR’s Julie McCarthy reports that compassion has been mixed with concern that the Trump administration’s stance on immigration is making the U.S. a dangerous place for Indian immigrants.
“There’s been an outpouring of anger and dismay on Twitter. Some Indians have characterized the United States as a place to be avoided,” Julie reports for our Newscast unit.
“Indians make up the second largest immigrant group in the United States after Mexicans,” Julie adds. “And they hold more than 70 percent of the visas issued for high-skilled workers. The two American-educated Indians (injured in the attack) held such visas.”