Mon, Feb 27, 2017 - Page 4 News List

US shooter described as ‘drunken mess’

AP, OLATHE, Kansas

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 on 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.

In the past year, Purinton bounced from one menial job to the next and was sometimes drunk by mid-morning, he said.

However, he said that in the 15 years he has lived across the street from Purinton in Olathe, he has never heard him make a racist remark or talk politics, adding that he does not 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 reporters by telephone on Saturday. “He was a drunken mess.”

Purinton, 51, was arrested hours after the attack at a restaurant and bar about 110km from Olathe in Clinton, Missouri.

Purinton’s mother, Marsha Purinton, told the New York Times that her son “snapped, and this is not his typical self.”

Berthelsen said Purinton owned shotguns for bird hunting and inherited handguns from his father, adding that neighbors did not feel unsafe around Purinton.

While Purinton is a registered Republican, Berthelsen said he never heard him mention US President Donald Trump or former US president Barack Obama.

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