An Indian man who was shot in a Kansas bar after allegedly being told to “get out of my country” is walking on crutches and could head back to work as early as next week, his brother-in-law told NBC News Thursday.
News of 32-year-old Alok Madasani’s progress comes as the man who allegedly shot him, Adam Purinton, made a brief appearance in Johnson County District Court Thursday morning.
It was also the same day that Srinivas Kuchibhotla, Madasani’s friend who was killed in the Feb. 22 shooting, would have turned 33.
Judge Charles Droege ordered Purinton, 51, back to court on May 9 for a second appearance. Purinton is charged with one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder.
A third man, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, was also injured in the shooting when he tried to intervene at Austins Bar and Grill in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe.
Purinton is being held on $2 million bond.
A spokeswoman for the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office told NBC News that Purinton’s defense attorney, Michael McCulloch, asked the judge Thursday for time to look over the reports.
McCulloch did not immediately return a voicemail requesting comment.
The FBI announced last week it was investigating the shooting as a hate crime. Witnesses reportedly told the Kansas City Star that Purinton yelled "get out of my country" before opening fire. Authorities said they believed Purinton targeted Kuchibhotla and Madasani — who were born in India — because of their ethnicity.
Because Kansas does not have a hate-crime statute, those charges would have to come in federal court.
Just two weeks after the shooting, Madasani continues to recover at home, brother-in-law Rohan Sai Gangula, who lives in Florida, told NBC News by phone Thursday. Madasani is walking now, aided by crutches, and could return to work next week, Gangula said.
Madasani and Kuchibhotla worked together as engineers at GPS maker Garmin, according to their LinkedIn accounts.
While Madasani is making physical progress, he still suffers from the stress and grief of having lost one of his close friends, Gangula said.
“It’s a very big thing,” Gangula said.
On his Facebook page Thursday, Madasani posted photos of himself with Kuchibhotla, marking what would have been his friend’s 33rd birthday.
“Words can't describe how much we are missing you,” he wrote in part.
Kuchibhotla’s wife, Sunayana Dumala, also posted birthday wishes for her husband on her own Facebook account.
“It feels weird to wish you this way,” Dumala wrote. “Missing you a lot. Hoping you are celebrating and having fun in your new abode surrounded by wonderful things and people, with only love around.”
Dozens of people also gathered for a candlelight vigil in southern Indian to remember Kuchibhotla on his birthday, The Associated Press reported.
As federal authorities in Kansas continue to investigate the shooting at Austins Bar and Grill as a hate crime, the FBI in Washington state has begun an investigation into the shooting of a Seattle-area Sikh man that local police have described as a possible hate crime.
A partly-masked white assailant opened fire around 8 p.m. local time Friday while the Sikh man was working on a car in his driveway in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Police Chief Ken Thomas said.
The masked assailant confronted the man, Thomas said, telling him something "to the effect of: Get out of our country. Go back to where you're from."
Police have not yet arrested anyone in that shooting.
Gangula, Madasani's brother-in-law, said it seems as if there has been an increase in apparent hate-crime cases targeting Indians and South Asians.
“We have a fear that we cannot go out, we cannot take a walk outside,” he said.
Gangula, who has a five-month-old boy, said he and his wife have been considering whether to move from Florida back to India.
“We’re also thinking of the future,” he said.
Gangula added that he will soon be an uncle. His sister, Madasani’s wife, is five months pregnant with a boy.
He said the family is thankful Madasani escaped without serious injury.
“We believe that God gave him a second chance to see my nephew,” Gangula said.