GPS device-maker Garmin is reeling after one of its employees was killed and another wounded in a shooting at a bar close to their workplace in Kansas City.
The tech company has long revered diversity in its workforce, even when the locale of its ever-sprawling operational headquarters – a largely white Kansas City suburb – didn’t reflect it.
It’s the place 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla came to work a few years ago and his wife said on Friday he willingly spent long hours on an aviation systems engineering team alongside Alok Madasani, a friend and colleague also 32 and from India.
Kuchibhotla’s trek led him to have a kinship with his boss, Lebanese native Didier Popadopoulos, who says he moved to America at Kuchibhotla’s age and once held the same Garmin job.
But Garmin – a billion-dollar tech giant launched in Kansas as a startup by two men nearly three decades ago – is now trying to digest Kuchibhotla’s shooting death on Wednesday at a tavern just down the road from work. Madasani was wounded, along with a stranger who tried to help.
Witnesses say the gunman, Adam Purinton, yelled at the two Indian men to “get out of my country” and opened fire. Purinton, who was arrested hours later at a bar in Missouri, remains jailed on murder and attempted murder charges.
On Friday, Garmin comforted grieving employees at a closed-door vigil at its campus in Olathe, Kansas. Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, addressed the group of about 200 workers, which included Madasani.
Laurie Minard, Garmin’s vice president of human resources, doesn’t believe the shooting will jeopardise its recruitment of workers from overseas.
“We tend to be a family here,” she said at the Garmin campus, which is waging a $US200 million ($A260 million) expansion.
“We want people to feel safe. We embrace it. We encourage it. We support it. It’s extremely important to us about acceptance.”
At any given time, she said, more than 100 Garmin employees are part of a program, which lets American companies bring foreigners with technical skills to the US for three to six years.