Washington: The FBI has joined the investigation into the shooting of a Sikh man by a partially-masked gunman, who shouted “go back to your own country”, in a suspected hate crime.
Deep Rai, a US national of Indian-origin, was shot outside his home in Kent, Washington, on Friday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the incident as a potentially hate-motivated crime.
“The Seattle FBI is assisting the Kent Police Department through a joint investigation of the shooting incident. The FBI remains committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated and we continue to work with all our community partners in the Seattle area,” said FBI Seattle Spokesperson Ayn Dietrich.
The FBI is also investigating another shooting in Kansas last week as a hate crime, in which 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed when 51-year-old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani, yelling “get out of my country”.
Meanwhile, Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera has condemned the shooting of Rai, saying crimes motivated by hate are on the rise.
“This disturbing crime is an outrage that goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants,” Bera said.
“On the heels of the Kansas shooting, crimes motivated by hate are on the rise,” Bera said.
“Xenophobia and racism have no place in America, and we as a nation need to stand up to these hate crimes — starting with the President (Donald Trump). Thankfully, the victim is recovering and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” said Bera, the three-term Indian American Congressman from California.PTI
US assures India of speedy justice to hate crime victims
Washington: The US on Monday assured India of “speedy justice” to the Indian-American victims of hate- related crimes as the Indian envoy here reached out to the State Department to convey his “deep concerns” over such tragic incidents.
“State Department, on behalf of US Govt, expressed condolences and assured they are working with all agencies concerned to ensure speedy justice,” the Indian Embassy in the US said in a series of tweets.
India’s Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna reached out to the State Department to convey his “deep concerns” to the US government on the recent tragic incidents involving Harnish Patel and Deep Rai.
Patel, 43, the owner of a convenience store in Lancaster County, South Carolina, was found dead of gunshot wounds in the front yard of his home on Thursday.
Rai, 39-year-old Sikh, has been shot outside his home by a partially-masked gunman who shouted “go back to your own country”, in a suspected hate crime.
Sarna also “underlined” the need to prevent such incidents and protect the Indian community.
Indian Embassy officials are in constant communication with local police officials in both the cases.
In the case of Patel, the County Sheriff had pointed out that this may not be a hate crime. “We will remain in touch with them,” an Indian Embassy source said. There have been a slew of bias-related incidents in the US, raising concerns over the safety of the members of the Indian-American community.
Last month, 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed when 51-year-old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani, yelling “get out of my country”. PTI
Sikhs respond to shooting near Seattle with fear, shock
Kent: Fear, hurt and disbelief weighed on the minds of those who gathered at a Sikh temple after the shooting of a Sikh man who said a gunman approached him in his suburban Seattle driveway and told him “go back to your own country.”
“Everybody who is part of this community needs to be vigilant,” Satwinder Kaur, a Sikh community leader, said as several hundred people poured into a temple in Renton for worship services about one mile from Friday night’s shooting.
“It is scary,” she added. “The community has been shaken up.”
Authorities said a gunman approached the 39-year-old Sikh man as he worked on his car in his driveway in the city of Kent, about 20 miles south of Seattle. The FBI will help investigate the shooting, authorities said.
Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said Sunday the department is investigating the shooting as a hate crime. He said no arrests have been made yet after the victim was shot in the arm but that he did not believe anyone was in imminent danger.
“This is a top priority investigation, and we are doing everything possible to identify and arrest the suspect,” Thomas said in an email, adding that residents in the city of about 125,000 should “be vigilant” but also not let the shooting hurt their quality of life.
The FBI’s Seattle office said in a statement on Sunday that it is “committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated,” the Seattle Times reported.
The shooting comes after an Indian man was killed and another wounded in a recent shooting at a Kansas bar that federal agencies are investigating as a hate crime after witnesses say the suspect yelled “get out of my country.”
Friday night’s shooting was on the minds of many who gathered at a Sikh Temple in nearby Renton Sunday morning for worship. Women in colourful saris and headscarves and men wearing turbans sat on the floor on opposite sides inside the worship space.
As they entered and left the services, many expressed fear that one of their own was targeted and said they’re scared to go to the store or other public places.
Some said they have noticed an uptick in name-calling and other racist incidents in recent months. Still others expressed hurt and disbelief at the lack of understanding and ignorance.
“Sikhism teaches about equality and peace,” said Sandeep Singh, 24. “It’s sad to see that’s what it has come to,” he said of the violence. “This is our country. This is everyone’s country.”
Gurjot Singh, 39, who served in the Marine Corps and is an Iraq war veteran, said he was dismayed that people think others who look different aren’t equal or don’t contribute equally to the community. AP
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