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Hundreds Attend Prayer Vigil for Shooting Victims

By Felicia Mello, Elk Grove Patch
Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2011 | 11:11 am

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More than 500 people gathered at dusk Friday for an interfaith prayer vigil at the East Stockton Blvd. location where an elderly Sikh man was killed and another wounded March 4.

Local officials, religious leaders, family and friends spoke to the crowd about the need for justice over the shooting and acceptance of religious and cultural diversity.

Surinder Singh, 65, and Gurmej Singh, 78, were on a daily walk when they were shot in broad daylight. Surinder Singh died at the scene and Gurmej Singh remains in the hospital in critical condition.

"I'm outraged," said Brenda Dougherty, Surinder Singh's next door neighbor. "He and his friend walk around in the neighborhood all the time. I still can't believe this happened."

Members of the local South Asian community said they were comforted by the large, diverse turnout at the vigil.

"Being in education I've always taught my students to be understanding of other cultures, but after this I felt strange wearing my [Punjabi] outfit," said Indira Kaur Bhatti, the vice principal of Herburger Elementary School. "But seeing [the community support], I feel safe again."

A local law enforcement official announced at the vigil that the reward for information leading to an arrest in the case had reached $43,000.

A funeral will be held for Singh at 10 a.m. Saturday at North Sacramento Funeral Home, 725 El Camino Ave. in Sacramento.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner is scheduled to give an update on investigations into recent crimes against Sikhs Sunday at the Sacramento Sikh Temple, Sikh leaders said.

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Click here to see story on Elk Grove Patch.






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