hate crime

9-1-1 call: Boy pleads for help after Sikh father shot

Washington,USA: While Kanwaljit Singh sat bleeding and unable to move in his vehicle moments after being shot by someone in a passing truck, his 13-year-old son called 9-1-1 and tried to remain calm as he explained to a sheriff’s dispatcher what had just happened in the family car.

The 46-year-old Singh had been shot at six times as he drove his Ford Focus west on the Dunlawton Bridge in Port Orange late Saturday night. The boy was sitting next to him in the front seat.

Toward the end of the conversation with the dispatcher — who at times was terse with the youngster — the teenager let out a heart-wrenching whimper as he begged the woman to send an ambulance. Singh, who was shot in the torso and the thigh, could also be heard moaning softly in the background

“Please ma’am, please send help,” the child said. “Please, it’s my father.”

A family acquaintance said Wednesday that Singh is recovering at Halifax Health Medical Center, but is in a great deal of pain because of his wounds. The friend, Navtej Khalsa, regional director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said Singh has no insurance and is the “only breadwinner” in his family.

The boy, meanwhile, who has not been identified, called 9-1-1 from the 7-Eleven parking lot at Dunlawton and Ridgewood avenues just before midnight Saturday. He was able to identify the truck his attackers were driving as dark or black and possibly a late 1980s to early 1990s Ford F-150. A Ford decal is on the sides of the pickup, police said.

“We were on Dunlawton Avenue and someone was chasing us. They were just shooting our car window,” the youngster told the dispatcher. “Please ma’am hurry up. He can’t walk.”

The 9-1-1 operator loudly commanded the boy to stop talking and listen to her instructions: “Stay in the car. Do not move out of the car.”

When the teenager told the dispatcher that his father had been shot in the leg, the operator ordered him to find a dry, clean cloth and apply pressure to his father’s thigh.

The boy communicated with his father mostly in Punjabi, a primary language of Sikhs.

Port Orange police said they are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime because Singh was wearing the traditional head turban donned by males who follow Sikhism. The turban symbolizes a commitment to equality and justice.

The U.S. Department of Justice is also looking into the shooting via their Community Relations Service, a division of the federal agency that investigates conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, national origin, religion and sexual orientation.

“Although no clear motive has been established, initial indications are this shooting was not a random act,” said Wayne Miller, Port Orange’s assistant chief of police. “There was no previous confrontation between occupants of either vehicle.”

Father and son had just closed up a convenience store that Singh had opened about 10 days earlier on the beachside, Khalsa of SALDEF said.

He praised the younger Singh for the way the boy spoke to the 9-1-1 operator.

“He did an incredible job under pressure and duress,” Khalsa said. “Just to have the presence of mind to call while his father had just been shot, is incredible.”

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Port Orange Detective Jeff Wenzel at 386-506-5884.

Source: News Journal Online

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