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Hate Crimes

Second targeted shooting of an Indian-American, outside Seattle, sparks concern in India and America

Police in Kent, Washington, are searching for the man who shot a 39-year-old Sikh man in his driveway on Friday night, after reportedly shouting "Go back to your own country." The victim, identified as Deep Rai — an American citizen, born in India — was released from the hospital on Saturday and is recovering from the bullet wound to his arm, but the Indian-American community is rattled by the attack and a strikingly similar one at a bar outside Kansas City a week earlier.

In the Kansas attack, a 51-year-old white man named Adam Purinton is accused of yelling at two Indian-born engineers, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, about their immigration status, then after he was kicked out of the bar, coming back and shooting them, killing Kuchibhotla and wounding Madasani and a bar patron who intervened to stop him. Purinton reportedly yelled "get out of my country." President Trump touched on that murder in a speech last week, saying America "stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms."

Indian-Americans aren't so sure, and neither is India, which sends hundreds of thousands of immigrants to the U.S. each year on legal work visas (a popular one, the H1-B, is being curtailed by the Trump administration). The Seattle-area attack was front-page news in India, and India's foreign ministry has weighed in, as has America's top diplomat in India, Chargé d'Affaires MaryKay Carlson:

The suspect is described as a stocky 6-foot-tall white man whose lower face was covered by a mask. The Kent Police Department said it is treating the shooting as a possible hate crime, and the FBI is involved in the investigation as well. "We're all kind of at a loss in terms of what's going on right now, this is just bringing it home," Jasmit Singh, a leader of the local Sikh community, told The Seattle Times. "The climate of hate that has been created doesn't distinguish between anyone." Sikhs were targeted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, mistaken for Muslims, he added, "but at that time, it felt like the [presidential] administration was actively working to allay those fears.... Now, it's a very different dimension." You can learn more in the CNN report below. Peter Weber