Tony, a 34-year-old Michigan store clerk, was called an Islamic State terrorist and shot in the face during an armed robbery. According to the Grand Rapids Police Department, an armed robber entered a party store in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at 11.57 pm on December 12, pointed the gun at Tony and demanded money.
Store owner Inderjit Singh, also of Indian descent, said after Tony handed over a bag of cash, the robber forced Tony to the backroom, away from surveillance cameras, stuck the gun in his mouth and said “I shot people like you overseas in the Middle East with no problem“. Fearing for his life, Tony decided to fight back and grabbed the gun. He was shot in the cheek during the struggle. The man fired two more shots at Tony before running off with an undisclosed amount of money.
Surveillance shows Tony walking out of the back area holding his bleeding face, as he called 911 on his cell phone. Police arrived to the store minutes later. He was taken to the hospital but released just a day after the incident.
Gurleen Kaur, whose father owns Bottlenecks Food and Drink Shop, at 2355 Fuller Ave. NE, believed the robber threatened the brave clerk because of his ethnicity. She told FOX 17:
“I don’t know why (the gunman) associated him with terrorism, maybe it’s because of our skin, because of what we look like, and it could happen to anyone that looks like us or has our skin tone. That’s just the sad part because, at the end of the day, we’re just normal people trying to live normal lives, we’re not associated with anything like that, and it’s unfair that we have to live in that fear.”
— KSN News Wichita (@KSNNews) December 24, 2015
People showing support for Bottlenecks clerk called terrorist and shot. Cards, flowers and food dropped off pic.twitter.com/L1LDE6jHtG
— Heather Walker (@HeatherTV8) December 23, 2015
“Tony thought, ‘OK, I’m going to die; might as well die fighting. He’s very lucky because it could have been a lot worse, but thank God he’s OK… I grew up here and a lot of my Punjabi friends did. Whether we’re Indian or whether we’re not, it doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t specifically be going for one race,”she told WOOD-TV.
As of now the police, still on the search for the shooter, are treating the case as an armed robbery and a shooting, as further investigation is needed to determine if the incident can be classified as a hate crime.
— Anonymous GHOPS (@AnonGHOPS) December 20, 2015
Trump isn't the only ignorant racist in the US – Robber called Indian store clerk 'terrorist' before shooting him https://t.co/NQMoI4Wxp5
— Devutopia (@D_Raval) December 16, 2015
“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. If the victim had not fought off the suspect, then this could’ve been a much more serious incident,” Grand Rapids Police Sargent Terry Dixon said.