The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the investigation into the shooting of a Sikh man by a partially-masked gunman, who shouted "go back to your own country". Deep Rai, a US national of Indian origin, was shot outside his home in Kent, Washington, on March 3. The 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. 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, a three-term Indian American Congressman from California.
The US on Monday assured India of "speedy justice" to the Indian-American victims of hate-related crimes, as India's Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna reached out to the State Department to convey his "deep concerns" over the recent tragic incidents involving Harnish Patel and Deep Rai. The State Department, on behalf of the US Government, expressed condolences and assured they are working with all agencies concerned to ensure speedy justice," said the Indian Embassy in the US said in a series of tweets. Sarna also "underlined" the need to prevent such incidents and protect the Indian community.
Meanwhile a 29-year-old Indian-American man has been found dead in the US state of New Jersey, an incident which the family has described as a "personal issue". Sources here said the cause of the death last week was still unknown and the medical examiner's office was investigating the incident which took place in Jersey city. More details were not immediately known.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted yesterday that the Indian Consulate here "has spoken to the father of the deceased in Massachusetts. He says this is a personal family tragedy".
Consulate officials have reached out to the deceased's family in Massachusetts and sources said the family has requested privacy, saying "it is a personal family matter". The sources strongly cautioned that the incident should not be seen as linked to a possible hate crime since all details are still not available and the family too has termed it as a personal issue
Lalit K Jha in Washington and Yoshita Singh in New York reporting for PTI; with inputs from NH Web Desk.