Sunday September 16, 2001
Indian man shot dead in US in apparent backlash to terror attacks
WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (AFP) - An Indian man who moved to the United States 10 years ago was shot dead on the weekend by an unidentified assailant, The Arizona Republic newspaper reported Sunday, in what looked like a misplaced incident of revenge for the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
Balbir Singh Sodhi, 49, was killed Saturday when a gunman driving a black pick-up truck drove into the Mesa, Arizona service station he ran and fired three shots. The assailant then drove on to another service station where a Lebanese-American employee was working and to a house, firing shots but injuring no one else.
Sodhi's brother, Harjit, told the newspaper his sibling was killed because his dark skin, beard and turban made him look Middle Eastern, like the men US authorities say hijacked the planes used in Tuesday's devastating attacks. "Some people don't understand because we are different, because we look like (Osama) bin Laden," Harjit said. "But we are not Muslim." The Sodhis, originally from Punjab in India, belong to the Sikh religion.
The newspaper said police were trying to trace the killer. One officer, sergeant Mike Goulet, said the murder was not being considered a racist crime.