A Kansas man accused of shooting two Indian immigrants and a third man at a bar, in what some believe was a hate crime, was always a drinker but became a “drunken mess” after his father died about 18 months ago, a longtime neighbor said Saturday.
Andy Berthelsen said his neighbor Adam Purinton, who is charged with murder and attempted murder in Wednesday night’s attack, was very close to his father, who died of pancreatic cancer.
He said in the past year, Purinton bounced from one menial job to the next and was sometimes drunk by mid-morning. But in the 15 years he’s lived across the street from Purinton in Olathe, Berthelsen said he’s never heard him make a racist remark or talk politics. He said he doesn’t believe the shooting stemmed from hatred, and that it likely resulted from Purinton’s physical and mental deterioration.
“This is someone who’s gone downhill very quickly,” Berthelsen told The Associated Press by phone Saturday. “He was a drunken mess.”
Purinton, 51, was arrested hours after the attack at a restaurant and bar about 70 miles (110 kilometers) from Olathe in Clinton, Missouri. He is jailed on murder and attempted murder charges, and he didn’t have a lawyer as of Saturday, according to court records. His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.
According to witnesses to the attack at Austins Bar and Grill, which is about a mile from Purinton’s home, Purinton yelled “get out of my country” at the two Indian men before he opened fire.