(December 6, 2011) — Earlier today, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) called on local authorities to initiate a hate crime investigation into the stabbing of a Sikh man at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011.
According to the Fresno Police Department, a 56-year old Sikh man from India was stabbed near the security area at Fresno Yosemite International Airport while waiting to board his plane. The Sikh traveler suffered a minor cut to his upper torso, and was treated at the airport prior to resuming his journey back to India.
The assailant, identified as 26-year old Mitchell Dufur, reportedly approached the Sikh traveler and stabbed him with a pocket knife, without provocation or exchanging any words. Dufur is now in custody, and being held under suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon, after he initially attempted to flee from the airport before being apprehended by the local authorities.
According to Fresno Police officials, they are working to determine why the victim was stabbed, but haven’t determined whether the act was in fact a hate crime, as Dufur has refused to talk with the police about the motive for this attack. SALDEF has been in contact with the Fresno Police Department to gather more details and information about this horrible incident and have offered our services to assist in the investigation in any way possible.
SALDEF urges all Sikh Americans to immediately report any incidents of harassment, bullying or assault to SALDEF and your local authorities. If you or someone you know has been a victim of any racially motivated crime, please contact SALDEF directly at 202.403.0246 or via our Report an Incident Form.