New York: A 39-year-old Sikh man in the US was injured when an unidentified person shot him outside his home and shouted “go back to your own country”.
The Sikh man was working on his vehicle outside his home in the city of Kent in the Washington state on Friday when he was approached by a stranger, who walked up to the driveway, the Seattle Times reported.
Kent police said an argument broke out between the two men, with the victim saying the suspect made statements to the effect of “go back to your own country.” The unidentified man then shot him in the arm.
The victim described the shooter as a six-foot-tall white man, wearing a mask covering the lower half of his face.
Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said while the Sikh man sustained “non life-threatening injuries”, they are “treating this as a very serious incident”.
Kent police have launched an investigation into the case and reached out to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, the report said.
“We’re early on in our investigation,” Thomas said.
Kent Police Commander Jarod Kasner said the incident is getting attention from the Sikh community and others.
“With recent unrest and concern throughout the nation this can get people emotionally involved, especially when (the crime) is directed at a person for how they live, how they look,” Kasner said.
The incident is the latest in a series of troubling cases where members of the Indian community have been targeted in apparent hate crimes.
It comes close on the heels of the tragic shooting in Kansas last month of 32-year old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed when 51-year old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani before yelling “get out of my country.”
Earlier this week, Indian-origin convenience store owner Harnish Patel, 43, of Lancaster in South Carolina was found dead of gun shot wounds in his yard.
Jasmit Singh, a leader of the Sikh community in Renton, said he had been told the victim was released from the hospital.
He said the victim and his family are “very shaken up.”
“We’re all kind of at a loss in terms of what’s going on right now, this is just bringing it home. The climate of hate that has been created doesn’t distinguish between anyone,” he said.
Singh said that men from his community have reported a rise in incidents of verbal abuse, “a kind of prejudice, a kind of xenophobia that is nothing that we’ve seen in the recent past.”
He said the number of incidents targeting members of the Sikh religion, are reminiscent of the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks.