Police are hunting for a gunman who reportedly shot a Sikh man in the arm and told him to “go back to your own country" in the US.
The 39-year-old victim told police that he was working in his driveway in Seattle at about 8pm on Friday when the stranger approached him, the Seattle Times reported.
In the argument that ensued, the suspect told him to go back to his homeland. The victim told police the man then shot him in the arm, the newspaper reported.
He described the gunman as 6ft tall, white and of a stocky build, wearing a mask covering the lower half of his face.
Police in the Seattle suburb of Kent told the newspaper they had contacted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies about the incident.
“We're early on in our investigation,” police chief Ken Thomas said on Saturday. “We are treating this as a very serious incident.”
Mr Thomas told a local television station the incident was being treated as a possible hate crime.
“It is our belief and opinion, based upon the experience of my investigators, that our victim is absolutely credible and that this incident did occur as he has described," he told King 5.
Jasmit Singh, a leader of the Sikh community in the nearby suburb of Renton, said he had been told the victim was released from the hospital.
“He is just very shaken up, both him and his family,” Mr Singh told the newspaper. “We're all kind of at a loss in terms of what's going on right now, this is just bringing it home. The climate of hate that has been created doesn't distinguish between anyone.”
Sikhs have previously been the target of attacks in the United States because of mistaken comparisons between turbans and headdresses worn by some terror leaders including Osama bin Laden.
After 9/11 attacks, the backlash that hit Muslims across the country expanded to include Sikhs and their faith as well and the concerning trend has been repeated following other terror attacks, including the Orlando shooting.
The alleged attack in Seattle came just weeks after an Indian man was shot dead in a Kansas bar by a man who allegedly shouted racist slurs.
Adam Purinton has been charged with murder after allegedly killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and shooting his friend and a good Samaritan who chased him down.
The shooting increased pressure on Donald Trump to denounce hate crime amid a reported spike across the US following his election victory.
Additional reporting by AP
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