A 39-year-old Kent, Washington man was shot in the arm after being accosted by a white man who told him, “Go back to your own country!” then opened fire.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, the unnamed victim, who is a follower of the Sikh faith, was working on his car in the driveway of his residence on Friday evening when the attack took place.
Kent police said that a white man approximately six feet tall with a mask covering the lower half of his face approached the Sikh man and began to berate him.
A scuffle followed, during which the attacker shouted, “Go back to your own country” before shooting the victim, who was struck in the arm.
The attacker — who is described as being stockily built and wearing dark clothing — then fled the scene.
“This investigation is a top priority for the Kent Police department and we have reached out to the FBI and other local law enforcement agencies,” said a statement from the Kent Police Department.
Jasmit Singh, a spokesman for the Sikh community in Renton, WA told the Seattle Times that the victim is recovering, but shaken.
“He is just very shaken up, both him and his family,” Singh said. “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.”
In Olathe, Kansas, last week, a white man shouted racial epithets before shooting two Indian-Americans and their white coworker at a local bar. All three men — workers for Garmin, Inc. –were injured, one fatally.
Hate crimes against immigrants, Muslims, Latinos and other groups singled out as threats to society during Pres. Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign have spiked across the U.S. since Election Day.
Adherents to the Sikh faith have been singled out for hate crimes because they are frequently mistaken for Muslims. Sikh men wear turbans due of their religion’s belief that all people are equal before God.