Sikh Man Shot In Washington, FBI Investigating Case As Hate Crime
Within two weeks of the shocking incident when two Indian men were shot by a gunman in a Kansas Bar, news of another horrific event surfaced where a 39-year old Sikh man was shot by an unidentified gunman near Seattle.
According to reports, the FBI is investigating the case and assuming it to be hate crime because according to a witness, the shooter began shouting racial slanders and threatened the victim to go to back to his country.
The victim is a U.S. citizen who originally belonged to the Punjab region in India. He was in his residential driveway when the assailant allegedly started harassing the victim and later shot him in the arm before taking off.
"This is a top priority investigation, and we are doing everything possible to identify and arrest the suspect," said Ken Thomas, Kent Police Chief.
Seattle-area Sikh community leader Jasmit Singh said a masked man suddenly came outside Rai's Kent, Washington home on March 3. He started saying something and asked the victim why he was cleaning his car.
The conversation triggered an argument and the accused ordered the victim to go back to his country and pushed him. The police added that the shooter then fired a shot at him and escaped the site.
A witness who is a resident at the property where the incident occurred claimed that she has seen the shooter escaped the scene after shooting her landlord. The victim was rushed to the hospital where doctors treated him and assured that he would make a full recovery.
Reaction To The Incident
India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj mentioned that in a conversation with the victim's father she was told that his son had been shot, but was recovering in the hospital.
Spokesperson for the Sikh Coalition, Rajdeep Singh stressed on the importance of investigating the shooting as a racial hate crime.
The shooting has filled the Sikh community with terror and the members want the authorities to investigate the crime with utmost urgency.
Approximately 50,000 Sikhs inhabit Washington out of which around 30,000 are from the Kent area where the incident took place.
Many people in the community believe that the country was safer for the Sikhs under the Bush and Obama Administration and have blamed the current President and his staff for the lack of safety prevalent throughout the country.
"These are real events. This is not conjecture that something could happen. Things are happening, and so it's important for all of us to take a stand against hate," remarked Sapreet Kaur, executive director of the national Sikh Coalition.
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