An East Bay woman visited a Dick’s Sporting Goods last week and asked a store employee about buying eight boxes of ammunition for her AR-15. Two days later, on Friday, Sim Sangha received an unwelcome visit by two police officers.
The store employee had alerted them, police said. Now, the 24-year-old Fremont resident is accusing the store of racial profiling.
"I don't know if it's [because of] my skin color or that I’m Indian," she said. "I'm not a Muslim, but even if I were, that's no reason to call police to my home, instantly."
Sangha, a firearms instructor, didn’t buy ammunition for her rifle – the same kind used to gun down 14 people and injure 17 others in San Bernardino – and left instead with an exercise mask.
"They singled me out," Sangha said. "They singled me out because of the way I look."
Had the store asked, Sangha, who is preparing to join the Los Angeles Police Department, said she would have provided proof of her certification.
"I feel like I was racially profiled," she said. "I've had friends buy bulk ammo and they've never had police show up at their door."
A Fremont police spokeswoman said that the department does not have a defined policy to step up police actions against activity that may be construed by some as terrorist-related. They are, however, on heightened alert since a husband-and-wife duo opened fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in Southern California.
A store manager referred NBC Bay Area’s questions about the case to Dick's corporate office.
Fremont police said the officers apologized to Sangha but defended their duty to check out what residents consider "suspicious."