A Washington man was arrested on hate crime charges after allegedly threatening three men he assumed were Muslims during a gas station encounter.
Police said Kenneth Sjarpe shouted racial slurs at the men, ordered them to leave the country and then threatened to shoot them during the incident last month at a Bellevue gas station, reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
A driver told police that he was pumping gas, while two of his relatives waited in the car, when the 55-year-old Sjarpe came out of the Arco store and began shouting at them.
“Go back to your country,” Sjarpe said, adding a racial slur. “I’ll shoot you.”
The driver’s brother got out of the car and shouted back at Sjarpe, who the other men said got into his Ford Bronco and drove toward them.
Sjarpe again threatened to kill the other men, whom he repeatedly called Muslims, and then drove away.
The brothers reported the incident to police, who reviewed surveillance video that appeared to match their account.
A detective spotted Sjarpe the next day walking toward his truck, and he admitted to arguing with the other men and said he “probably” used a racial slur.
“His voice got louder as he started talking about how he hated those people,” the detective said in a report. “Iranians, Indians, Middle Easterners — they shouldn’t be in our country (and they’re) taking our jobs.”
He then told the detective that he “supports Trump in keeping them out,” the newspaper reported.
Sjarpe could also face charges in a similar incident a week later, when an Ethiopian immigrant said a man called him a racial slur and then chased him up the stairs at a business.
“I want you guys to get out of my country, (racial slur),” the man allegedly said. “If you don’t leave, I will make you disappear.”
The victim, who came to the U.S. 37 years ago from Africa, cried out for help, and some passersby chased the aggressor away.
Sjarpe was arrested June 8 and charged with malicious harassment, which is the state’s hate crime charge, and felony harassment.
He remains jailed on $200,000 bail.