The Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City (AABAKC) is outraged and deeply saddened by the tragedy that befell our community on the evening of February 22. According to news reports, a gunman shot three men in an Olathe, Kansas, bar after shouting racist and xenophobic remarks directed at two of the victims. Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed, and two others, Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot, were injured. AABAKC strongly condemns these events.
AABAKC extends our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Mr. Kuchibhotla. We wish speedy and complete recoveries for Mr. Madasani and Mr. Grillot as they confront the aftermath brought about by this horrific event.
We praise Mr. Grillot’s actions that day, as news reports indicate he fearlessly and heroically stood up to the shooter. During these times when rhetoric divides this country and crimes against immigrants and minority groups headline the news, Mr. Grillot’s heroic actions remind us of the need to stand in solidarity with our neighbors of all races, religions, and orientations to protect and defend groups that are unfairly targeted.
While further details are still forthcoming, this event serves as a tragic reminder of violence that many Arab, Hindu, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities, and countless other minority groups have endured, which, unfortunately, has become far too common in recent years.
AABAKC asks all law enforcement, authorities, and Mr. Steve Howe, District Attorney for Johnson County, Kansas, to prosecute this crime at the highest level. While mindsets are not changed overnight, the prosecution of this crime as a hate crime by the U.S. Department of Justice would serve as a strong statement that hateful, racist, and xenophobic actions such as this will be met with the full force of the law.
AABAKC calls on elected officials in Kansas and at the federal level to condemn this reprehensible action as a hate crime. AABAKC further calls on all elected officials to condemn all forms of anti-immigrant hate, bigotry, and xenophobia to make this country a better place for all of us.
AABAKC is joined in this statement by: the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and South Asian Bar Association of St. Louis.