Suspect is still at large. Kent Police release sketch.
At a press conference at Kent City Hall today, Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jay S. Tabb Jr. spoke about last week’s shooting of a Sikh man in greater detail. The video of the press conference is below.
The shooting of a 39-year-old Sikh man occurred in the man’s driveway on the west side of 108th Avenue Southeast, near the intersection of Southeast 208th Street. The victim was working alone in his driveway in Kent at 7:30 PM on March 3, 2017. At approximately 7:40 PM, the suspect walked up to the victim and told him to go back to his own country, before shooting the victim in the arm.
The suspect, who was alone, fled on foot in an unknown direction. He is described as a white male between the ages of 35 and 40, and approximately six feet tall with a medium build. He was wearing a dark-colored or black hoodie, dark clothing and a mask covering the lower half of his face.
“The Kent Police Department is committed to making sure our community is protected from those who wish to do harm to our members, particularly if they may be targeted because of their race, gender, ethnic origin, nationality, sexual orientation or other protected class. For that reason, we have partnered with the FBI to ensure we bring all investigative resources to bear to this case,” Chief Thomas said.
“We also need the community as a partner in this investigation. We need your eyes and ears to augment our efforts to find the shooter. Please be on the lookout for the individual we describe. Please watch for suspicious behavior that may indicate involvement in this incident such as throwing away clothing we describe or making erratic or unusual plans. Please listen for comments that indicate involvement in this incident or witnessing it. If someone was in the vicinity of the crime, they may have information that may help us,” Chief Thomas said.
“We ask the public not to hesitate, worrying that a piece of information may be too small. Reviewed together, every piece of information may contribute to a larger picture that could help us apprehend the shooter and understand the motive,” he added.
“As you are all likely aware now, the FBI Seattle field office has opened a full civil rights investigation into this matter, along with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jay Tabb. “We’ve opened this case to help Kent Police Department to figure out whether or not there was bias, specifically bias related to federal hate crime laws in this matter.”
“The FBI is committed to investigating criminal activity that could potentially be motivated by that bias, because hate crimes are not only an attack that affect the victim, but they also threaten to endanger our community,” Agent Tabb added.
“This kind of incident has really torn us apart as a community…nobody likes hate,” Bhullar said. “Try to spread more love. That’s what we need in this community. We don’t want any more haters. We want love, so pray for those haters to bring more love.”
Community member Satwinder Kaur asked the community to be vigilant, to pay attention to their surroundings and to not engage in arguments. She asked that people call the police if people are making hateful comments to them.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of up to $1,000 (1-800-222-TIPS). If you have any information about this crime, call the Kent Police Department tip line at 253-856-5808, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous.