At 11:25 p.m., the armed 48-year-old man from Seattle drove past her home three times shouting obscenities, including, “Go back to India, I’m going to kill you.” Witnesses heard gunshots and when officers arrived on the scene they arrested the man, who was carrying a .40 caliber handgun.
Although the man will remain in jail in lieu of a $500,000 bail, the judge rejected the prosecutors’ request for a harassment warrant to protect the congresswoman. The Seattle Police Department, the U.S. Capitol Police Department and FBI investigators continue to investigate the incident.
Neil Makhija, Executive Director of Indian-American impactan organization dedicated to building Indian American political power, investing in Indian American candidates and freeing up the growing Indian American electorate, said in a statement: “We are grateful that Representative Jayapal and her family are safe, but “We are shocked that they have to endure this terrifying hate crime. There should be no place for hate in our country, and Representative Jayapal and her family should not live in fear. But today we see it everywhere.”
Makhija added that there have been more than 11,000 hate incidents against Asian Americans last year and nearly 600 per month. These hate crimes are rarely reported on the news – even this story about a member of Congress is hardly covered in the national media.
“We remain deeply concerned that a request for a criminal injunction to protect against harassment has been denied, especially given the aggressive nature of the incident and the public nature of the congressman’s job. Washington’s 7th congressional district should not be a threat to her life or the life of her family,” added the Indian American Impact statement.
Makhija urged the U.S. Capitol Police Department and the FBI to conduct a thorough and thorough investigation into this incident and take all necessary security measures to ensure Representative Jayapal and other Asian-American members of Congress are safe in their respective districts and in Washington, DC.
The statement added that recent data indicates that anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339 percent last year alone. “This weekend’s incident represents a growing trend that affects all Americans. Racial injustice is very much alive in this country, and we must work together to reject it. Anything less is unacceptable.”