An Indian American cab driver in Idaho, Gagandeep Singh, 22, was stabbed to death by his last passenger, Jacob Coleman.
According to The Spokesman Review, the 19-year-old came to Spokane from Seattle wanting to attend Gonzaga University but was denied entry as the institution had no record of him applying there for admission.
In a statement sent to The Spokesman-Review, Pete Tormey the associate director of community and public relations at the university wrote that an individual matching Coleman’s description was reported to have approached housing officials on campus Monday, but he was not enrolled nor assigned housing.
Coleman told deputies that he became angry and began to have homicidal thoughts following the interaction with Gonzaga staff.
He then hailed a cab from Spokane International Airport, which Singh was the driver of, and asked to be driven to a fictitious friend’s house however; his thoughts became increasingly homicidal during the drive.
Coleman then asked Singh to stop at a local store, where he purchased a knife and then re-entered the cab directing Singh to drive farther to look for the nonexistent destination.
Singh soon realized that Coleman did not have a real location in mind and stopped the cab near the intersection of Spokane Street and East Railroad Avenue in Kootenai, Idaho where Coleman stabbed him.
When his mother noticed that Singh wasn’t answering the phone when she called him at around 6 p.m. and he did not check in with the cab company as per normal procedure, they contacted the police who located the vehicle.
Upon their arrival at the scene, Singh was pronounced dead and Coleman was still in the car and even surrendered without incident.
Coleman is currently being held in Bonner County jail and the Courthouse judge has denied him bail.
He has been charged with first-degree murder.
Singh was a former resident of Preet Nagar in Jalandhar, Punjab and he decided to settle in Spokane in 2003 along with his family.
Kamaljit Kaur, Singh’s mother, told the police she called her son who told her he was carrying a “white man” in his taxi.
Kaur said she has even enquired about the behavior of the man to which Singh said he was a “gentleman.”
Singh’s older brother Balgit recalled the moment; “he was talking to my mom, he was a little nervous. That was the last call from our family. So my mom’s like ‘well, if he already paid you just drop him off another ten miles.'”
“He was only 22-years-old. He left us too soon, way too soon. We had a lot of thing planned being in a family. We had a lot of thing planned out. I think God knows best. He left too soon.
As of now we know we’ll be in tears for a long long time because that was the only sibling I
have,” he added.
Brian Campbell, a fellow taxi driver and friend of Singh told KREM.com that he was the smartest person he knew.
“He was developing an app to make it easier for people to get a ride home, or ride from airport or from the bus station. He was writing code to bring us up to the competition,” he said.
He was also the nephew of Jalandhar-based Congress leader Manmohan Singh Raju who said “my nephew became a victim of racial hatred. As the Trump government is now showing exit doors to the Asians due to few job opportunities, Indians and Asians as a whole are becoming the victims of racial hatred.”
Although the investigation still continues, if deemed a racial hate crime, this will be the 13th among the Indian American community this year and ninth on in the Sikh-American community.
In June, Simran Jeet Singh, an assistant professor at Trinity University and a Religion Fellow with the advocacy organization, Sikh Coalition, was attacked with racial slurs on his run from New York University to his home in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
In May, Jagjeet Singh, who was working in a convenience store, was stabbed to death by an unidentified person allegedly after an altercation over cigarettes in Modesto, California.
In April, New York City cab driver Harkirat Singh was racially abused by four unruly and drunk passengers, who also punched him and snatched off his turban off.
Many incidents took place in March including: physician Amandeep Singh who was directly threatened with a text message, a couple in Richland, Washington who found a note on their doorstep wrapped in a diaper with vague threats in it, an attack on a Sikh woman inside a gurdwara in Oregon and a Sikh man by the name of Deep Rai who was shot in the driveway of his house in Kent, Washington.
C.J. Singh, a Sikh restaurant owner in Woodland, California, whose restaurant was vandalized in January.
Indian Americans Harnish Patel of South Carolina; Trupal Patel of Brick Township, New Jersey,; Smurti Patel of Sacramento, California and Srinivas Kuchibhotla of Olathe, Kansas, were also victims of hate crimes this year.
Other hate crimes which occurred this year include the burning the Victoria Islamic Center in Victoria, Texas in January and the vandalizing of an Indian American family’s home in Peyton, Colorado along with many other incidents as such around the country including the assaults of Ankur Mehta in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Maan Singh Khalsa in Redmond, California last year.