“Go Back to Your Country”: Police Begin Hate Crime Investigation, Search For Sikh Man Shooter In Seattle

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Authorities in a suburb in Seattle are looking for the gunman who had shot a Sikh man on his arm and shouted: “go back to your own country,” reported the Seattle Times.

Incident

The victim is a man, 39 years old, who follows the Sikh religion. He had told police he was working around 8 o’clock pm in his home’s driveway on Friday when an unknown man walked up to him, reported the Times.

Males who observe the Sikh traditions sometimes cover their hair with a wrap not unlike a turban, which they consider sacred, in addition to refraining from shaving their facial hair. The faith originated in South Asia’s region of Punjab.

An argument began, as the suspect said to him that he should return to his homeland, said the victim. He also told police that the man proceeded to shoot him in his arm, reported the newspaper.

The victim said to police that the gunman is around 6 feet tall, white, with a stocky-like build. He also wore a mask at the time that covered the lower portion of his face.

Investigation

Police in Kent said to the paper that the department contacted FBI agents and other larger law enforcement organizations about the events that unfolded.

“We’re early on in our investigation,” said the Police Chief of Kent, Ken Thomas, on Saturday. “We are treating this as a very serious incident.”

Jasmit Singh, one of the leaders of the local Sikh communities in the nearby Renton suburb, was tol that the victim had been released from the local hospital, reported the Times.

“He is just very shaken up, both him and his family,” said Singh to the newspaper. “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.”

Sikhs have been widespread targets of anti-immigrant attacks in the US for years. After Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, backlash aimed at Muslims all over the nation included Sikhs too, as many assumed the image of a thick beard and turban falsely indicates that they are Muslims.