A 22-year-old Sikh software engineering student has been stabbed to death in his taxi allegedly by an American student who was upset over not getting admission into a university, media reports said. Gagandeep Singh, a third year student who was also working as a taxi driver, was allegedly attacked by the 19- year-old passenger he had picked up at Spokane International Airport in Washington State on August 28, NBC affiliate KHQ reported.
The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho identified the defendant as Jacob Coleman, who was charged with first- degree murder in the death of Singh.
Coleman is said to have flown from Seattle to Spokane to start as a new student at Gonzaga University in Spokane, but upon arrival he was denied entry, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. But “he became angry and began to have homicidal thoughts,” police said, after claiming he was denied entry to Gonzaga University, a private Catholic school in Spokane.
The university said it “has no record of an application” from Coleman and that it was cooperating with law enforcement, the report said. Coleman reportedly left, hailed a taxi and asked Singh to drive him to a fictitious friend’s house in Bonner County, Idaho.
Coleman later admitted that during the journey he “became homicidal” and bought a knife during a stop at a shop, police said.
Singh later stopped his car in the city of Kootenai after realising he had been sent to an erroneous location. That’s when Singh was stabbed multiple times with the knife Coleman allegedly bought at the store, according to the sheriff’s office and a criminal complaint.
Singh, originally from Jalandhar in Punjab, had been living in Washington state since 2003. “He was talking to my mom, he was a little nervous,” his older brother Balgit Singh said on Tuesday. They had spoken over the phone. “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 said they lost contact with him soon afterward and called 911, KREM2.com reported. There have been a number of attacks targeting Indian- Americans and Sikhs in the recent months in the US.
In July, two Sikh Americans were killed in two separate incidents in one week in California. In March, a 39-year-old Sikh man was shot in the arm outside his home in Kent, Washington, by a partially-masked gunman who shouted “go back to your own country”.