FBI Investigating, Sikh Community Stunned After Fatal Shootings

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Oak Creek – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is working closely with the Oak Creek Police Department and other local and federal agencies to investigate the fatal shootings at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek about 10:15 a.m. Sunday that left seven people dead, including the shooter, and three people critically injured, according to FBI Milwaukee Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson.

Calling it an “an active investigation in its early stages,” Carlson said in a statement, “While the FBI is investigating whether this matter might be an act of domestic terrorism, no motive has been determined at this time. We know our community has been deeply impacted by this incident, and our thoughts are with those affected and particularly with the officer who was wounded in the line of duty to protect others.”

Oak Creek police officers who responded to a 911 call about the shooting were helping a victim when the shooter ambushed one of the officers, shooting the officer multiple times, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards told journalists at a press briefing. A second Oak Creek officer returned fire, killing the shooter, Edwards said.

Law enforcement officials confirmed four of the dead were inside the temple at 7512 S. Howell Avenue and three of the dead, including the shooter, were outside the temple.

“As of now, 6 Sikhs are confirmed dead:  one Kathavachak (spiritual discourse giver), two Sewadars (helpers) at the Gurdwara (place of worship), one woman, one old gentleman, and the  identity of another is unknown,” said United Sikhs, a global community organization, in a statement.

According to unconfirmed sources the following are the victims: Seeta Singh and Parkash Singh (both Temple Priests), Ranjit Singh (Religious Hymn Singer), Satwant Singh Kaleka (President of the Gurdwara), Subegh Singh and Parmjit Kaur (members of the congregation)

According to the same sources, the critically injured members of the congrgation are Punjab Singh and Santokh Singh. The third person injured is one of the police officers who was responding to the 911 call.

Harcharan Gill, who was at the scene said, “The police response was quick but the paramedic team waited for almost two hours to go inside the Gurdwara building,  sensing the possibility of of another shooter, which was not the case. The community is in deep shock, we never thought that this could have happened with us.”

Local sources said the 3700 block of E. Holmes Avenue was under police cordon and there were numerous law enforcement officials, including FBI vehicles and personnel, in the area.

“The Sikh American community, like all Americans, is shocked after this attack,” said Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) Managing Director Kavneet Singh. “We mourn the loss of those who were killed today and pray for the swift recovery of the those injured, including the veteran police officer who put himself in harm’s way to protect his community.”

The next official press conference is scheduled for 10:00 am Central Time. A hotline has been established for family members and friends looking for information on those involved. The number is (888) 298-1964. (IATNS)

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