A Kent man was shot in his driveway late Friday by a man who allegedly told him to “Go back to your own country,” Kent police said early Saturday.
The victim, a 39-year-old follower of the Sikh religion, was in his driveway in the 20200 block of 108th Avenue Southeast working on his vehicle when he was approached by a man he did not know.
An altercation followed, during which the victim reported that the suspect made the “Go back” statement.
The victim was then shot in the arm. He was transported to a local hospital with what was believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.
The suspect is described as a 6-foot-tall white man with a mask covering the lower half of his face. He had a stocky build and wore dark clothing.
Kent police spent Saturday processing the crime scene and speaking to potential witnesses, said Kent police Cmdr. Jarod Kasner.
The victim was believed to be wearing a turban at the time of the incident. The potential hate crime aspect prompted Kent police to contact the FBI and other law enforcement agencies for resources.
Aside from the violent nature of the crime, the potential hate crime aspect is being carefully looked at, Kasner said.
He acknowledged that the attack is getting attention from the Sikh community and others.
“With recent unrest and concern throughout the nation, this can get people emotionally involved, especially when (the crime) is directed at a person for how they live, how they look,” Kasner said.
The Sikh Coalition, a national organization that advocates for Sikhs, issued a news release Saturday calling for national leaders to “make hate-crime prevention a top priority.”
“Tone matters in our political discourse, because this is a matter of life and death for millions of Americans who are worried about losing loved ones to hate,” said Rajdeep Singh, interim program manager for the Sikh Coaltion.