An armed robber called an Indian-origin store clerk in Michigan an "ISIS terrorist" before shooting him in the face on Saturday, police told BuzzFeed News.
The suspect shot the victim through the cheek before fleeing with an undetermined amount of money, according to authorities.
The unidentified 34-year-old clerk is in stable condition and released from the hospital, Grand Rapids Police Sgt. Terry Dixon told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday.
The suspect, described by police as a 6-foot-tall black man who was wearing a mask, pointed a gun at the clerk in the Bottlenecks Food and Drink Shop on Saturday and demanded money.
After the clerk handed over the cash, the suspect called him an "ISIS terrorist," according to Dixon. The suspect then put the gun in the clerk's mouth and said, "I used to kill people like you overseas for fun."
Deciding to fight back, the clerk grabbed the gun but was shot in the cheek during the struggle, Jasleen Kaur, the store owner's daughter, told BuzzFeed News. Jasleen and her father, Inderjit Singh, are also of Indian descent.
The incident comes in the wake of several anti-Muslim incidents reported across the U.S.
The clerk, Dixon said, is not a Muslim.
"We're very proud of how he responded in light of this incident," Dixon told Michigan Live. "This could've been much, much worse given the apparent intent of the suspect."
Kaur, 23, said she was shocked that something like this happened as she had never faced racism before. "I don't know whether [the suspect] targeted people who looked like us or who had a certain skin tone."
"We're Americans," Kaur told Michigan Live. "We're trying to live normal lives, be Americans."
Police, meanwhile, are not yet investigating the incident as a hate crime, Dixon said.
"Once we track down the suspect we will determine what his intended motive was," he said.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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