International News

US: FBI joins investigation into shooting of Sikh man as a 'potentially hate-motivated' crime

The Kent Police has started questioning witnesses in the area.

The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation will help the Kent Police investigate Saturday’s shooting of a Sikh man as a crime that is “potentially hate-motivated”. The agency made a statement to the effect on Sunday, the Seattle Times reported. The victim, 39-year-old Deep Rai, said he was shot in the arm by a tall, stock white man who Rai claims had shouted “go back to your own country” before attacking him.

The Kent Police have been speaking to witnesses in the area. “We are putting all possible resources toward this investigation,” said police chief Ken Thomas. “To think that this could happen in our community was very surprising and extremely disappointing,” he added, according to CNN.

Several groups have demanded that the incident be investigated as a hate crime, including the British Columbia Peoples Party and the New York-based civil rights group the Sikh Coalition.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said she was sorry to hear about the attack on Rai and had spoken to his father Harpal Singh. “He told me that his son had a bullet injury on his arm. He is out of danger and is recovering in a private hospital,” she had said on Twitter.

This comes on the heels of reports that a man of Indian origin was found dead outside his residence in South Carolina on Thursday. Harnish Patel, 43, owned a convenience store in Lancaster County. On February 22, an engineer from Hyderabad, Srinivas Kuchibhotla had been murdered in a hate crime in Kansas.

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