Washington: The FBI has joined the investigation into the shooting of a Sikh man by a partially- masked gunman, who shouted “go back to your own country”, in a suspected hate crime.
Deep Rai, a US national of Indian-origin, was shot outside his home in Kent, Washington, on Friday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the incident as a potentially hate-motivated crime.
“The Seattle FBI is assisting the Kent Police Department through a joint investigation of the shooting incident.
“The FBI remains committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated and we continue to work with all our community partners in the Seattle area,” said FBI Seattle Spokesperson Ayn Dietrich.
The FBI is also investigating another shooting in Kansas last week as a hate crime, in which 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed when 51-year-old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani, yelling “get out of my country”.
Meanwhile, Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera has condemned the shooting of Rai, saying crimes motivated by hate are on the rise.
“This disturbing crime is an outrage that goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants,” Bera said.
“On the heels of the Kansas shooting, crimes motivated by hate are on the rise,” Bera said.
“Xenophobia and racism have no place in America, and we as a nation need to stand up to these hate crimes — starting with the President (Donald Trump). Thankfully, the victim is recovering and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” said Bera, the three-term Indian American Congressman from California.
The Sikh Coalition praised Kent Police for swiftly moving to investigate the incident as a hate crime.
“We applaud the decision by the Kent Police Department to pursue a hate crime investigation,” said Sikh Coalition interim programme manager, Rajdeep Singh.
The Coalition also urged the Trump administration to take concrete actions to prevent the recurrence of such crimes.
“Immigrants and religious minorities are being attacked around the nation, but the Trump administration has not even created a task force to address this issue…,” Rajdeep said, adding, “The White House needs to show leadership in preventing hate violence.”