'Go back to your own country': Gunman shoots Sikh man in driveway

KENT, Wash. (KOMO) - Kent police are searching for a gunman they say opened fire in the East Hill neighborhood.

Officers say the victim, a 39-year-old Sikh man, was in his driveway working on his car Friday around 8 p.m. when another man approached him and began yelling, "Go back to your own country."

The shooting occurred near the 20200 block of 108th Avenue Southeast.

Police say the victim was shot in the arm. Authorities expect the man will make a full recovery.

The shooting suspect is a white male about 6 feet tall. Police say the man has a stocky build and was seen in dark clothing and a mask covering the lower half of his face.

Detectives are investigating. The FBI is also involved in investigation the possible hate crime.

"It was very disheartening to see the news that somebody was actually a victim of a hate crime, in a city that we have never felt that before," Satwinder Kaur, a Sikh community leader, said Saturday. "We open our doors to everybody, everybody is welcome to visit us."

Sikhs have previously been the target of assaults in the U.S. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the backlash that hit Muslims around the country expanded to include those of the Sikh faith.

Male observant Sikhs often cover their heads with turbans, which are considered sacred, and refrain from shaving their beards. The faith comes from South Asia's Punjab region.

In 2012, a man shot and killed six Sikh worshippers and wounded four others at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee before killing himself.

The Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights group, asked local and federal authorities to investigate the shooting in suburban Seattle as a hate crime.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Kent Police Department.


EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the victim as a Middle Eastern man. The man is Sikh.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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