Sikh community ‘shaken up’ after man threatened, shot
Fear, hurt and disbelief weighed on the minds of those who gathered at a Sikh temple Sunday after the shooting of a Sikh man who said a gunman approached him in his suburban Seattle driveway and told him “go back to your own country.”
“Everybody who is part of this community needs to be vigilant,” Satwinder Kaur, a Sikh community leader, said as several hundred people poured into a temple in Renton for worship services about one mile from Friday night’s shooting.
“It is scary,” she added. “The community has been shaken up.”
Authorities said a gunman approached the 39-year-old Sikh man as he worked on his car in his driveway in the city of Kent, about 20 miles south of Seattle. The FBI will help investigate the shooting, authorities said.
Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said no arrests have been made yet after the vic- tim was shot in the arm but that he did not believe anyone was in imminent danger.
“This is a top priority investigation, and we are doing everything possible to iden- tify and arrest the suspect,” Thomas said in an email, adding that residents in the city of about 125,000 should “be vigilant” but also not let the shooting hurt their quality of life.
The FBI’s Seattle office said in a statement Sunday that it is “committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated,” the Seattle Times reported.
The shooting comes after an Indian man was killed and another wounded in a recent shooting at a Kansas bar that federal agencies are investigating as a hate crime after wit- nesses say the suspect yelled “get out of my country.”
Friday night’s shooting was on the minds of many who poured into a Sikh Temple in nearby Renton Sunday morning for worship. Women in colorful saris and headscarves and men in turbans and beards sat on the floor on opposite sides inside the worship space.
“Sikhism teaches about equality and peace,” said Sandeep Singh, 24. “It’s sad to see that’s what it has come to,” he said of the violence. “This is our country. This is everyone’s country.”
In 2012, a man shot and killed six Sikh worshippers and wounded four others at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee before killing himself.