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Sikh man’s shooting in Washington investigated as hate crime

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SEATTLE — Police are searching for a gunman who allegedly walked onto a residential driveway in Washington state and shot a Sikh man in the arm, authorities said.

The gunman allegedly told the man “Go back to your country.”

Police are investigating the shooting in Kent as a possible hate crime, according to CNN affiliate KIRO.

The victim is a US citizen, originally from India’s Punjab province, Seattle-area Sikh community leader Jasmit Singh told CNN.

Singh said the man’s family told him that he had been in his driveway Friday when a 6-foot man approached, asking something along the lines of “why are you cleaning your car?”

The conversation became heated and the man threatened the victim, calling him names and yelling “go home to your country,” before he pushed him to the ground and pulled out a gun.

The victim lost consciousness, only realizing he had been shot when he regained consciousness, Singh said. He was discharged from hospital Saturday and doctors expected him to make a complete recovery, Singh said.

Police respond

“We’re early on in our investigation and the shot resulted in non life-threatening injuries, however we are treating this as a very serious incident,” Kent police chief Ken Thomas said in a news conference broadcast by KIRO.

Thomas said police were investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime, KIRO reported.

“To think that this could happen in our community was very surprising and extremely disappointing,” Thomas said. “This is the first incident of this magnitude that I’m aware of in the city of Kent.

The FBI’s Seattle office said it was investigating alongside Kent police.

“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,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

India reacts

India’s Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, tweeted that she was sorry to hear of the attack.

Swaraj said she had spoken to the victim’s father, who told her his son had suffered a bullet injury to the arm and was “out of danger” and recovering in a private hospital.

India’s Foreign Ministry said it was in touch with local authorities and had offered assistance.

“What we heard from the victim himself is that the shooter asked him when are you going back to your own country?” spokesman Gopal Baglay said.

MaryKay Loss Carlson, the top diplomat at the US Embassy in New Delhi, tweeted her thoughts as well.

“Saddened by shooting in WA. Wishes for a quick and full recovery. As @POTUS said we condemn “hate and evil in all its forms,” she said.