Gov. Inslee calls apparent hate crime shooting in Kent ‘un-America’
KENT, Wash. — Washington Governor Jay Inslee released a statement Sunday calling the apparent hate crime shooting in Kent “un-America.”
The victim, who is a member of the Sikh faith, said he was in his driveway Friday night when the gunman walked up and shot him in the arm after a conversation.
Kent police say they believe this was not a random act of violence but rather motivated by hate.
Seattle-area Sikh community leader Jasmit Singh, who spoke with the victim's family, told CNN that the victim 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.
On Sunday, Gov. Inslee released a statement calling the act "un-American" and said Washington stands with the Sikh community.
“This hateful incident echoes the disturbing pattern of anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim attacks in our state, and across the country. Just last week in St. Louis, a similar incident occurred with an even more tragic outcome. These acts of violence are hateful, detestable, and un-American.
“Earlier today I spoke to Jasmit Singh, one of the leaders in the local Sikh community, and let him know that Washington stands with the Sikh community and all members of our diverse state. My office stands ready to help in any way possible."
The victim is expected to survive his wound and will be released from the hospital soon.
The victim is a US citizen, originally from India's Punjab province.
Singh said approximately 50,000 Sikhs lived in Washington, -- 30,000 of them in the Kent-Renton area.
"Based on anecdotal evidence, more and more people are saying inappropriate things to Sikh men, the stigma attached to being a racist has been erased from the community," Singh said.
Rep. Ami Bera, the longest currently serving Indian-American member of Congress, on Sunday denounced the attack.
"This disturbing crime is an outrage that goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants," Bera said in a statement. "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."
Jasmit Singh also said the White House needs to speak out against racism and bigotry.
The Kent Police Department is working with the FBI in the investigation.