For the second time in less than two weeks, an Indian-born man in the U.S. has been shot by an attacker who, before firing, allegedly shouted, “Go back to your own country.” Deep Rai, a Sikh man, was wounded in his Seattle area driveway on Friday night.
Authorities have not yet found the unknown assailant, who has been identified by Rai as a stocky white man about 6 feet tall.
“I am sorry to know about the attack on Deep Rai a US national of Indian origin. I have spoken to Sardar Harpal Singh father of the victim,” India’s external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, said in two tweets Sunday. “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.”
The Seattle Times reports that Rai, a U.S. citizen from India, told police a masked man accosted him in the driveway to his home on Friday night. A scuffle broke out between the two men, at which point the assailant broke out his weapon and shot Rai in the arm.
Police are investigating the shooting in Kent as a possible hate crime, according to CNN.
“We are treating this as a very serious incident,” Ken Thomas, police chief in the Seattle suburb of Kent, told reporters Saturday.
“We need our national leaders to make hate crime prevention a top priority,” Rajdeep Singh, interim program manager at the New York-based Sikh Coalition, said in a statement, according to the Times. “Tone matters in our political discourse, because this a matter of life or death for millions of Americans who are worried about losing loved ones to hate.”
As NPR’s Julie McCarthy reports for our Newscast unit, this is the second time in as many weeks that an Indian politician has wished a full recovery for a shooting victim in the U.S.
“This latest incident follows the targeted shooting in Kansas that killed one Indian national and injured another. The FBI is investigating it as a hate crime,” Julie notes. “Shaken by the violence, many Indians here say they are thinking twice before traveling to the U.S.”