President Trump Condemns Kansas Shooting in First Speech to Congress

White House spokesperson asserts racially or religiously-motivated attacks like Kansas shooting “have no place in our country”

By Geeta Goindi

Washington, DC, February 28, 2017 – After nearly a week of stoic silence, President Trump has condemned the shooting in Olathe city, Kansas, which left one Indian engineer dead and two other men injured.

Under fire for not speaking earlier, the president opened his first major address to both houses of the US Congress, Tuesday night, by denouncing the apparent hate crime in Kansas as well as anti-Semitic acts.

“Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms”, he said.

Top: President Trump speaks to a joint session of the US Congress for the first time since being elected. Seen seated are his Vice President, Mike Pence (left), and House Speaker Paul Ryan (Republican – Wisconsin)

According to police accounts, Adam Purinton, 51, a white US Navy veteran, opened fire in a bar on the evening of February 22, killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injuring Alok Madasani, both 32-year-old Hindus originally from Hyderabad, and engineers by profession employed by GPS device-maker Garmin. Reportedly, the suspect mistook the two Indian men for Iranians and yelled, “Get out of my country”. A good Samaritan, Ian Grillot, 24, who tried to intervene was also shot and is recovering in the hospital.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla (left) was fatally shot and Alok Madasani injured in probable hate-crime in Olathe city, Kansas

It took President Trump and his administration nearly a week to denounce this heinous act of hate.

A White House spokesperson addressed “the tragic shooting in Kansas” at the very outset of a press gaggle, on Tuesday afternoon, prior to the president’s speech to Congress.

“The President is keeping the family of the victim, who was senselessly killed, in his thoughts, and we’re praying for the full and speedy recovery of those who were wounded”, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sander told journalists in an informal press briefing.

“As more facts come to light and it begins to look like this was an act of racially-motivated hatred, we want to reiterate that the President condemns these and other racially or religiously-motivated attacks in the strongest terms. They have no place in our country and we will continue to make that clear”, she asserted.

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