In a suspected hate-related incident, an Indian-origin store clerk was shot in the face during a struggle with an unidentified man who called him a terrorist and part of the Islamic State (IS) group as he tried to rob the store, a media report said.
The clerk, whose name was not released, worked at a store in Michigan owned by Sikh-American businessman Inderjit Singh.
The clerk sustained injuries and was released from hospital over the weekend. He told co-workers that the robber called him a “terrorist” because he is of Indian descent, according to a report in mlive.com, a Michigan-based news website.
Singh’s daughter Gurleen Kaur, said the robber demanded money from the store worker, then led him to a back room where he put the barrel of a long gun into the worker’s mouth.
The victim, 34, told Kaur that the robber called him a “terrorist” and said he was part of IS.
The worker, fearing he would be killed, grabbed the rifle and was shot in the cheek during the struggle, she said.
Grand Rapids Police Sergeant Terry Dixon said the victim responded bravely.
“We’re very proud of how he responded in light of this incident. This could’ve been much, much worse given the apparent intent of the suspect,” Dixon said.
“If the victim had not fought off the suspect, then this could’ve been a much more serious incident.”
Kaur said the gunman threatened the worker allegedly because of his ethnicity “but I don’t know why he did what he did,” she said.
“It could’ve happened to anyone that looks like us,” she said.
“We’re Americans,” she said. “We’re trying to live normal lives, be Americans.”
The robber, wearing a mask and holding a gun, left with an undisclosed amount of money.