A 39-year-old Sikh man living in Washington’s Kent city was allegedly shot outside his home by a masked stranger on Friday when he was working on his car. According to the victim, the attacker was six-foot tall and was covering the lower half of his face with a mask. He alleged that the man told him to ‘go back to his country’ before shooting him in the arm.
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The victim has been identified as Deep Rai, a US citizen, news agency ANI reported. The injuries were reportedly “non-life threatening”. The city police, acting swiftly, asserted that they are “treating this as a very serious incident”. The Consul General of India in San Francisco is also reportedly in touch with local authorities.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday spoke to the victim’s father and inquired about his health. “I am sorry to know about attack on Deep Rai a US national of Indian origin. I have spoken to Sardar Harpal Singh father of the victim. He told me that his son had a bullet injury on his arm. He is out of danger and is recovering in a private hospital,” she said in a series of tweets.
US Envoy to India, Marykay Carlson also condemned the incident. “Saddened by shooting in Washington. As US Pres said we condemn ‘hate and evil in all its forms,'” she said.
Meanwhile, members of the Sikh community suspect that Rai was victim of a “hate crime”. “It looks like a hate crime, we are talking to authorities,the community is very concerned,” a San Francisco resident told ANI.
Taking cognizance of the matter, Kent Police Commander Jarod Kasner said: “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.”
The attack comes just days after a 43-year-old Indian-origin businessman Harnish Patel was found dead in his yard with bullet wounds in South Carolina. In another incident, two Indian engineers were shot at by a 51-year-old Navy veteral in a bar in Kansas. Srinivas Kuchibhotla, one of the victims, lost his life in the incident.