A family in midcoast Maine is shell shocked after someone shot up a sign outside of their business and home. They believe they may have been targeted for their Muslim faith.
"I don't think it was random," said Kathryn Piper, who recently moved to Troy, Maine, with her husband, Hussam Al Rawi.
Piper's family is from Maine and Al Rawi is originally from Iraq. They met in Saudi Arabia, and have two young children. They recently opened a halal butchery and delivery service based in their home, called Five Pillars Butchery.
"I am trying to make a living for my family, living in peace," said Al Rawi. He said shortly after posting a sign for their business, they heard a gunshot.
"I heard a loud crack outside," said Piper. "It was quite close."
While they initially thought it could be fireworks, the next morning, they counted 10 bullet holes in their sign.
Because they only heard one shot, but found several holes, they think it was a drive-by shooting using a buckshot shotgun.
Jason Trundy, chief deputy at the Waldo County Sheriff's Department, said it's likely that was the kind of weapon used. But they don't know who is behind it.
"We've sent investigators to try and determine what happened," he said. "At this point, we don't have any suspects. Without a suspect, it's hard to determine motive."
Trundy said the Maine Attorney General's Office has been notified, because they prosecute hate crimes.
Piper said because it happened right after the sign was posted, and because no other businesses or homes nearby were shot, it was a targeted attack.
"If it was just young, stupid kids shooting at signs, there would have been more than one [shot]," she said.
If the perpetrator acted out of hate or anger, Piper said her family wants to greet them with love and courage. She wants to reach out to her community more, and encourage questions about their culture.
"That's the way you heal," she said. "You embrace more. And the people that have fear or hurt or whatever in their hearts that cause them to do these things, if you shut your door and close off it gives them the satisfaction that they were right."
The incident has caught the attention of CAIR, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights group. The group is asking Maine law enforcement to investigate a bias-motive in the vandalism.