The Indian Consulate in San Francisco is in touch with local authorities after an attack on a Sikh man in the US state of Washington by a masked gunman who told him “go back to your country”, an official source in Delhi said on Sunday.
The victim, identified as Deep Rai (39) by the Indian embassy in Washington, survived after being shot at in front of his house on Friday night. This isn’t the first such incident. Harnish Patel of Lancaster in South Carolina was killed on Thursday, and an engineer from Hyderabad, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was murdered on February 22 in Olathe, Kansas. Another Indian, Alok Madasani, was injured in Kansas bar shooting.
Rai was working on his car in front of his house in Kent city when he was shot by the man described as white male who had his face partially covered, according to police.
“We’re early on in our investigation,” Kent police chief Ken Thomas said on Saturday morning, according to the Seattle Times.
“We are treating this as a very serious incident”.
KING5 TV reported that the incident was being investigated as a possible hate crime and police had reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for help.
According to the source in Delhi, the victim “is able to walk”.
“We wish him a speedy recovery and are ready to offer all possible assistance,” the source said.
Kent mayor Suzette Cooke has also reached out to the victim.
Sikh community leader Jasmit Singh said: He is just very shaken up, both him and his family... 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.”
Before the Kent attack, the Sikh Coalition had released an advisory asking the community members to report instances of people “saying hateful things about your Sikh identity”.
In the aftermath of the Kansas attack, the coalition said: “We should not wait until someone gets hurt or killed to report hate incidents.”
Kent is about 30km from Seattle and is near the Congressional constituency of Pramila Jayapal, the Indian-origin member of the House of Representatives.
Jayapal tweeted: “Thoughts and prayers to family and the entire Sikh community in wake of the horrific shooting. This must be investigated as hate crime.”