A Sikh man was shot dead at his gas station in Newark, New Jersey in an incident described as a hate crime by his family, who believe he was killed because of his religion.
Police said they found Davinder Singh, the 47-year-old victim who came to the US from India 25 years ago, unresponsive at his gas station on Monday. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
His son, Jatinder Singh, told a TV news network, “There was no robbery, no struggle, no confrontation. I don’t know what else it could be other than a hate crime.”
His father had just stepped out of office to get some fresh air when a man “came up to my dad, pointed a gun and shot him point-blank”, Jatinder said.
Police have not yet called the shooting a hate crime.
Sikhs have been the target of many hate crime incidents since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, most of them men mistaken for people from the Middle East for their turban.
Balbir Singh Sodhi, a gas station owner in Messa, Arizona, was killed just days after 9/11 by a man who was looking for “towel-heads” to avenge the attacks.
The killer thought Sodhi, who wore a turban, was from the Middle East. There have been many instances of such crimes against Sikhs since, ranging from beating to shooting.
In the outrage following the killing of six Sikh at a Wisconsin gurudwara in 2012 by a white supremacist, the FBI has begun tracking hate crimes against the community.
FBI is the lead investigating agency in hate crimes, defined as traditional offences like murder, arson, or vandalism with “an added element of bias”.