Police in Grand Rapids, Michigan are investigating a robbery that may also be a hate crime. An armed robber stormed into a liquor store and demanded cash from a store clerk identified as “Tony” by store management. Tony can be seen on the video complying with the robber, loading a bag of cash and handing it to him. The robber then marches Tony to a back storage room where he put a gun in the clerk's mouth and called him a terrorist:
Then Tony fought back, moving his head to the side just before the shot fired through his cheek. The manager said Tony remembered falling back, the gunman firing two more shots, and then running out the door.
The gunman also mentioned shooting people in Iraq:
During the struggle, the manager said, "Tony told me that (the gunman) asked him to get on his knees, and (the gunman) was saying all this vulgar stuff about him, like Tony being associated with terrorism or with ISIS."
The manager told FOX 17 the gunman called the clerk a terrorist, ISIS, and said things like, "I used to kill people like you in Iraq with no problem."
The manager told Fox 17 that Tony isn’t even Muslim. He’s from India, not the Middle East:
The manager told FOX 17 the owners are saddened by the entire incident and can't understand why Tony would be associated with terrorism: Tony is Punjabi, and has nothing to do with terrorism they said.
Someone in Michigan is a terrorist all right. But, it’s not Tony the store clerk who had a gun shoved in his mouth. Police say they haven’t yet decided to call it a hate crime:
Dixon said police are treating the case as an armed robbery and shooting and they need more information before determining if it was a hate-fueled crime.
The manager and Tony’s co-workers believe it is:
“We shouldn’t be targeted for it because we have nothing to do with it. We are just trying to live our normal lives. Like I grew up here and a lot of my Punjabi friends did,” the manager said. “Whether we’re Indian or whether we’re (not), it doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t specifically be going for one race. We’re not involved in any of it and so it’s just really sad that people are thinking like that.”
Watch the surveillance video of the robbery, where Tony is seen calling 911 himself after being shot. Graphic video below: