‘Go back to your own country’: Sikh man shot in his driveway in suspected hate crime


March 5, 2017

The 39-year-old Sikh man was working on his car in his driveway in Kent, Wash., just south of Seattle, when a man walked up wearing a mask and holding a gun.

March 5, 2017

The 39-year-old Sikh man was working on his car in his driveway in Kent, Wash., just south of Seattle, when a man walked up wearing a mask and holding a gun.

A gunman shot a Sikh man standing in his driveway in Kent, Wash., on Friday, March 3. The gunman reportedly told the Sikh man to "go back to your own country." Kent Police chief Ken Thomas held a news conference shortly after the incident, calling the shooting "surprising" and "extremely disappointing." (Reuters)

According to a report in the Seattle Times, there was an altercation, and the gunman — a stocky, 6-foot-tall white man wearing a mask over the bottom part of his face — said “Go back to your own country” and pulled the trigger.

Authorities are investigating the shooting as a suspected hate crime, the newspaper reported.

The victim, whose name hasn’t been released, was shot in the arm at about 8 p.m. Friday and suffered injuries that are not life-threatening, the newspaper reported. The man who shot him is still on the loose. Kent Police have reached out to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies for help.

The Washington state shooting comes just weeks after an Indian man in Kansas was killed and another was injured by a gunman who told them to “get out of my country” before opening fire in a bar.

In the Kansas case, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died from his wounds. Alok Madasani, 32, was released from the hospital Thursday. A third person, Ian Grillot, a patron at the bar, was shot while trying to intervene, The Washington Post reported.

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Sunayana Dumala, whose husband Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead at a crowded bar in a Kansas City suburb on Feb. 22, spoke at a news conference on Feb.24. The accused gunman reportedly yelled "get out of my country" before firing at Kuchibhotla and a friend, who was also Indian. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Authorities there were also investigating whether the shooting was motivated by bias, a widely held suspicion among the victims’ family members.

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The father of the injured Indian man said the rhetoric of President Trump contributed to negative feelings in the nation and implored parents in India “not to send their children to the United States.”

The White House disputed the family’s claim.

Family members of the two men said in interviews that they feared the current atmosphere in the United States. “There is a kind of hysteria spreading that is not good because so many of our beloved children live there,” said Venu Madhav, a relative of Kuchibhotla. “Such hatred is not good for people.”

Madhav said that “something has changed in the United States.”

Relatives of the Indian men told the Hindustan Times that they were friends who had not antagonized the alleged shooter, Adam Purinton, and that Purinton had instead “picked an argument” with them and suggested they were  in the country illegally. Purinton is charged with first-degree murder.

“They tried to tell him that they had done their [master’s degrees] in Kansas in 2006 and had been staying there with valid work permits,” a relative said.

Sikhs have faced similar fears since Sept. 11, 2001, worried that they are singled out for persecution because of their religious head coverings, according to Sikhnet, a global virtual community for the religion’s adherents. Sikhs, who wear turbans as part of their religion, are from northern India and are neither Hindu nor Muslim, according to Sikhnet.

“Many Sikhs have become victims of hate crimes because of their appearance,” according to the site.

Courtesy: Washngton Post