Man in Kirkland hate crime attack: "I thought, 'I'm going to die'"

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The man who was the victim of a hate crime in Kirkland is telling his story to try to keep it from happening to anyone else.

The 38-year-old, who became a U.S. citizen in 2016, told KIRO 7 on Friday he was targeted because of the color of his skin.

He asked not to be identified because he fears for his life. Police say the attacker told investigators he was lucky he didn't kill him.

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The incident happened September 8th in the Kingsgate Safeway parking lot just after 10 p.m.

"The first name that I realized that he told me, 'Hey blackie, when are you going to leave this country?'", said the victim. He said the man attacked him from behind and knocked him to the ground. Police say the suspect choked him and punched him, before he left, he kicked him in the head.

"When he was punching me he was asking, 'Hey blackie, is that enough? Did you learn your lesson?'"

The victim met with the FBI on Friday they are conducting a federal investigation.

The victim thought he was going to die when the suspect had his hands around his neck.

"At that moment I really thought he was trying to kill me or he might kill me because I couldn't breathe, "said the victim.

According to charging documents, William Kraft, 33, attacked and choked a man until he lost consciousness on Sept. 8.

A witness told police Kraft took off his shirt and wrapped it around the victim's neck. The witness recorded some of the attack on his cellphone before he helped the victim.

Detectives say Kraft stole the victim's pizza and took it into the woods to an encampment where he shared it with other people.

When Kraft was arrested, investigators say at first he told them he only spoke Russian; then, police say, he went on to tell them the victim was lucky to be alive.

Kraft, who has an extensive criminal history, is charged with malicious harassment (the state's hate crime statute), robbery, and assault.

Kraft pleaded not guilty to the charges. His bail is set at $500,000 dollars.

The victim said he considered moving back to India after the attack, but he said this is his country and his only family, his brother, lives here.The victim said he is confident justice will be served. "I have full belief in the law and I know that this law in this country, they will punish him," he said.