FBI Investigates Shooting of Sikh in Kent

Deep Rai, 39, told Kent police he was shot about 8 p.m. Friday by a man who told him to “go back to your own country.” Police have not identified a suspect.

By Mike Carter and Evan Bush / The Seattle Times
March 6, 2017

“Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s Civil Rights program, not only because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities, but also because groups that preach hatred and intolerance can plant the seed of terrorism here in our country.”
— FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams

The FBI has opened a federal civil-rights investigation into the shooting of a Sikh man who says he was wounded by a masked gunman who told him to “go back to your own country.”

Ayn Dietrich-Williams, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Seattle office, acknowledged the investigation in an email Monday afternoon.

“The FBI is working with the Kent Police Department and will collect all available facts and evidence to determine if there is a federal civil-rights violation,” she said. “As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.”

The federal investigation, which will be conducted in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, is in addition to a criminal investigation being conducted by Kent police.

Deep Rai, 39, was released from the hospital Sunday after he was treated for a gunshot wound to the arm, said Harminder Singh, the president of Gurudwara Singh Sabha, the Renton temple where the victim has worshipped for at least 10 years.

“He’s at home and wants to keep to himself,” Singh said Monday. “Fortunately the bullet did not go where it was intended.”

Singh said Rai is married and has three children and a large extended family in the area. He works in construction and plumbing.

Rai told police he was working on his vehicle in the driveway of a Kent home at about 8 p.m. Friday when a 6-foot-tall, stocky white man approached wearing a mask on the lower half of his face. Kent police said an altercation followed, with the man shooting Rai in the arm and telling him to “go back to your own country.”

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