Sunayana Dumala, the widow of an Indian man who was shot and killed in Kansas last week, wrote a moving post on Facebook about her husband.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla was an engineer from India working in the United States. He was shot at a bar outside of Kansas City by Adam W. Purinton, 51. Kuchibhotla was 32.
Dumala wrote with his death, she "lost my husband — my soul mate — my friend and my confidante." She added,
He was a source of inspiration, a support system not just to me, but to any and all he got to know. He always had a smile for every one, respected all especially his elders.
The shooting is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Purinton shouted "get out of my country" at Kuchibhotla and his friend Alok Madasani before shooting them, according to witnesses.
He was arrested at an Applebee's in Clinton, Missouri, after telling a bartender he had killed two Middle Eastern men.
The widow wrote she was in disbelief when police told her her husband had been shot. She called his brother to tell him, and he thought she was joking.
Dumala wrote that she and her husband connected online and married after "six years of close friendship." She said he encouraged her personally and professionally and supported her right to work in the United States. Dumala wrote,
It was Srinivas who gave me the courage to pursue my dream of coming to the USA and studying, which made me the person I am today — an independent, self-sufficient and strong woman. [...] He'd played a major role in me attaining a job, always encouraging and working with me though my disappointments, especially as I was starting back again after four years of a career break.
She said Kuchibhotla was a "family man" who "loved kids" and that they were in the process of saving up for fertility treatment.
I am writing this as it sinks in to me that this dream of ours is now shattered. I really wish we had a child of our own in whom I could at least see Srinivas and make him like Srinu.
Although he was a passionate worker who enjoyed his opportunities in America, Dumala wrote he "was always worried about immigration and its laws."
She wrote that they grew anxious at news of killings, but her husband reassured her.
We came here to achieve and fulfill our dreams. He always assured me that if we think good, be good, then good will happen to us and that we will be safe. He used to hug me tightly and sleep giving me this assurance. Srinu, now that I have gotten used to that warm hug, I might not be able to sleep.
Dumala thanked a host of people in her note, from friends who came to comfort and her husband's employer, to Indian politicians and celebrities who expressed sympathy.
She said she does "not have words to express gratitude" to Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old American who attempted to intervene and stop the shooting. He was injured in the process.
Dumala wrote she wants to meet Grillot and thank him in person.
Next week would have been Kuchibhotla's 33rd birthday. Dumala said they were supposed to be going to New Jersey for his cousin's engagement.
Things turned out differently, I was on my way to India with him in a coffin.
She ended her post with an open series of questions. She said that issues like racism are often discussed for short bursts and then forgotten. But, she said,
So what is the government going to do to stop hate crime?
Dumala concluded with a question:
Lastly, to answer the question that is in every immigrant's mind, DO WE BELONG HERE? Is this the same country we dreamed of and is it still secure to raise our families and children here?
Dumala said that she plans to return to the US to "fulfill his dreams through my eyes."
The FBI is continuing to investigate the shooting.