“In some ways, what one man shouted in anger and one woman uttered in grief capture one of America’s most troubling intersections.
“Get out of my country!” the gunman would yell, before opening fire on the two Indian men he later said he believed were from Iran.
“Do we belong here?” the widow would ask in a Facebook post six days after the shooting.
The episode happened at dinnertime in a neighborhood bar, part of a spasm of hatred that seems to be uncoiling in small towns and big cities across the nation — and in rising numbers.
A month before the shooting, the Victoria Islamic Center in Texas was torched, destroying the mosque. A month after the shooting, a white supremacist traveledfrom Baltimore to New York City on a mission to randomly kill a black man. He did just that. The reason: a deep hatred of black men, according to the New York Police Department.
“We’ve read many times in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening,” Ms. Dumala said at a news conference in February at the headquarters of Garmin, where Mr. Kuchibhotla worked as a senior aviation systems engineer.
“And we always wondered, how safe?”
Ms. Dumala had wondered how the couple fit into this new narrative, if they should move to a different country, and once even asked her husband, “Are we doing the right thing of staying in the United States of America?”
Ms. Dumala shared what is now the most dreadful chapter of her life seated at the foot of the king-size bed where they once slept. Much of their story was typical, abundant with promise: They were Indian immigrants who moved to the United States from Hyderabad for postgraduate degrees and jobs, a young couple in love, planning a family, making Kansas home.
Her night stand, closest to the window, offered unintended markers on that life: a 2007 college graduation photo of Mr. Kuchibhotla taken not long after they met, and a small box of Russell Stover assorted chocolates he gave her for Valentine’s Day, eight days before he was shot.
The realization that her husband was killed because of intolerance, because he was not born in America, is what forced her to emerge from this personal, private hell. She thought that if people were to know the aftermath of a hate crime, the crater-sized void and endless questions left behind, if the victims were rendered as three-dimensional, maybe there would be less fear, less hate.
“My story needs to be spread,” she said plainly. “Srinu’s story needs to be known. We have to do something to reduce the hate crimes. Even if we can save one other person, I think that would give peace to Srinu and give me the satisfaction that his sacrifice did not go in vain.”