Cricket tournament honors Olathe hate crime victim

Ian Grillot shakes hands with participants of the "Srinivas Kuchibhotla Memorial T-20 Challenge" cricket tournament June 10, 2017. The tournament was the first annual event honoring the memory of Kuchibhotla who was the victim of a hate crime in Olathe, Kansas. Courtesy KSHB News.

OLATHE, Kan. (KSHB) – The first annual “Srinivas Kuchibhotla Memorial T-20 Challenge” cricket tournament kicked off at Minor Park in south Kansas City Saturday. The 14-team tournament isn’t a fundraiser, but a way to simply honor and remember the man who was killed February 22.

“He was a good guy. We all truly dearly miss him,” said tournament organizer and friend, Sukumar Subramaniyam. “And he loves this game. This is on e way to bring the community together.”

Kuchibhotla was shot and killed at an Olathe bar on February 22. It has since been classified as a federal hate crime. The Justice Department announced Friday that Adam Purinton, 52, of Olathe, was indicted by a federal grand jury on federal hate crime and firearms charges.

“They are trying to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” said Alok Madasani, a friend of Kuchibhotla’s who was also shot that evening.

Madasani says the biggest positive since the shooting has been watching the community come together.

“Random people ask me, ‘How are you doing? How’s the family doing?’ and the just want to make sure I’m doing good,” he said.

Also honored at the tournament Saturday morning was Ian Grillot, the man labeled a hero after he attempted to stop the gunman. He was also shot and nearly killed.

“It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least,”he said.

Grillot is thankful that loce and compassion have tied multiple cultures together since the tragic shooting.

“I was accepted in by a community that is not typically where you would see somebody like me in a community. It’s such a beautiful thing,” he said.

And everyone at the cricket tournament wanted to make sure that Kuchibhotla’s lasting legacy involves togetherness.

“He needs to be remembered as the great man he was. The husband. The friend. The son,” said Grillot. “And not just him but everyone who’s been taken from this planet and theri family and friends too soon from the senseless acts of violence.”

The “Srinivas Kuchibhotla Memorial T-20 Challenge” cricket tournament is still looking for a sponsor, even if for future dates. Anyone interested in being a sponsor can contact the Midwest Cricket League or call 405-474-7299.