It needs a tremendous courage crowned by compassion to save the life of a stranger by keeping one’s life at risk. Not that everyone has it.
But Ian Grillot, 24-year-old American showed the humanitarian heroism. He took a bullet for an Indian.
The Incident That Left A Deep Impression On Indian-Americans
The shooting incident in Kansas carried out by US Navy veteran Adam Purinton, an angry, resentful, underemployed military vet-turned-infotech worker accosted Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Reddy Madasani, engineers from India working for Garmin USA, at a bar in Olathe, Kansas on February 22.
He wanted to know their visa and residency status (both were legally certified workers), and when he was evicted from the bar by patrons concerned about his aggressive behavior, he went to his car and returned with a firearm to shoot at the two Indians, shouting "Get out of my country!"
Kuchibhotla died of gunshot wounds and Madasani survived bullet injuries.
Grillot, who was also at the bar at that time and interceded when he thought Purinton had emptied the first magazine, ended up taking a bullet which tore through his hand into his chest, fracturing his vertebrae.
"I don't know if I could've lived with myself if I wouldn't have stopped or attempted to stop the shooter because that would've been completely devastating," Grillot said.
Alok Madasani (left) was critically injured in the shooting while Ian Grillot was injured when he tried to intervene in the shooting.
"It is not every day that one meets a genuine hero – a person who risks his life for another, and takes a bullet for a complete stranger. Ian Grillot is a man who reminds us of the promise of America and its greatness," said Jiten Agarwal, chair of the annual gala.
Support From India House
"On behalf of the Indian-American community in Houston, India House recognized this selfless act and raised $100,000 beyond the call of duty and has extended the community's gratitude to Ian Grillot by helping him to buy a house," the India House Houston said, in a Facebook post.
"Whatever you have done to save the life of a stranger, you represent the true America, you are the true hero … money cannot compensate you for your heroism, but I hope you will accept this cheque and utilize it towards buying your house. Thank you so much," community leaders, fronted by India's ambassador Navtej Sarna and Consul General Houston Anupam Ray, told Grillot at a moving event in Houston on Saturday.
"I do have a very powerful message and if I can help empower people and spread hope and love, then why not? I am honored to be at India House that serves so many families from so many communities in the Houston area," the 24-year-old added.
"I was just doing what anyone should have done for another human being. It's not about where he's from, or ethnicity. We're all humans," said Ian Grillot.
I should say he is the real hero. Unfortunately most of the people adore “reel heroes” and don’t recognize the living legends like Ian Grillot. Much respect and love to you Ian.