Update April 3: The King County Sheriff’s Office says tipsters helped investigators identify the man in the photos. No arrests have been made in the incident.
A Muslim woman said she felt threatened after a man showed her his handgun last month and told her he hated Muslims, King County Sheriff’s Office reported. The incident occurred after the woman declined his flirting, the report said.
It’s the latest incident that has raised concerns about hate crimes against Muslims in Washington.
SeaTac police are looking for the man, who could face charges of felony Malicious Harassment, which is the legal name for a hate crime in Washington, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office released surveillance photos of the man Thursday.
According to the account, the man was putting water in the radiator of his GMC Jimmy in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at 3120 S 176th St. in SeaTac around 7 p.m. on March 1.
Two Muslim women drove up, and he tried to flirt with one of them who stayed in the car while the other was in the store, according to police. When she politely declined, police said the man’s “demeanor changed and he accused Muslims of being violent, said he didn’t trust them and he hated them.”
Police say that the man showed the woman his gun, and the woman rolled up her window. The man drove away after the woman refused to open her door, police said.
A number of recent incidents have raised concerns that Muslims are being targeted for their religion in Washington state.
Last year, a Seattle Somali-American cabbie was beaten by his passenger, who asked questions about his religion. Earlier this year, a Hindu temple in Bothell and a nearby public school were vandalized on the same day, but the words “Muslims Get Out” were scrawled on the school walls.
According to the sheriff’s office, felony Malicious Harassment includes threatening or placing someone in fear of harm because of one’s perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap.
The King County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone who recognizes the man to contact Det. Minshull at 206-477-4329.