The home of a Muslim family in North Carolina was hit with a hail of gunfire early Tuesday morning, injuring one occupant and raising questions about the motive of the shooters.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the attack took place in eastern Mecklenburg County, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. The home of Abdul, a Muslim man who asked the paper not to publish his last name, was riddled by as many as 18 bullets in the middle of the night. Most of the shots hit the fence, but one bullet traveled through Abdul’s bedroom window and struck his wife in the thigh while she was sleeping. Abdul said she woke up bleeding and screaming before being taken to a nearby hospital, where she is currently awaiting surgery while recovering in the intensive care unit. None of the other occupants of the house — which included Abdul, his mother, and his two children — were injured in the attack.
Police are looking for multiple suspects near the neighborhood, which reportedly has only had infrequent break-ins in recent years. Officers initially reported that the incident was being treated as a random shooting, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Capt. Chuck Henson noted at a news conference Tuesday morning that police won’t know if it was hate crime until they make an arrest.
In the meantime, Abdul told reporters the attack left him with unanswered questions.
“Why our house in particular?” Abdul told WBTV. “Why aren’t the other houses shot at? Looks like we were targeted for one purpose or another, and it doesn’t sound like a random shooting.”
“We are traumatized, all of us, and we are thinking who can be shooting at us? Is it for motive? We have no idea,” he added.
The attack comes just over a month after the fatal shooting of three Muslim-American students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The exact motive of that shooting also remains unclear, although the assailant was an avowed anti-theist, someone who opposes religion in general. His affiliation was cited by a father of two of the victims and other Muslim Americans who called for the shooting to be investigated as a hate crime. The killings also sparked a debate within the American atheist community over the relevance of his anti-religious beliefs.
“We belong to the Muslim community. When the shooting happened in Chapel Hill three weeks ago, everyone was asking if I’m gonna be the next target,” Abdul told Channel 9.