Vigils in Oak Creek, Brookfield honor Sikh Temple shooting victims
OAK CREEK — Two prayer vigils were held Monday night, August 6th in support of victims and families of those impacted by the shooting at Sikh Temple Sunday. Six were killed and three were critically injured before Oak Creek police brought the gunman, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page down.
Prayer vigils were held in Oak Creek, at the Oak Creek Community United Methodist Church and at the Sikh Temple in Brookfield. Many Sikh community members have been praying and grieving at the Brookfield temple, as the Oak Creek temple is currently a crime scene.
Hundreds poured into the Sikh Temple in Brookfield for the vigil — to honor six innocent lives lost. Hymns sung in Punjabi were translated into English for many visitors, who were asked to remove their shoes and cover their heads with scarves.
Sikh Temple members say everyone within their small community knows at least one of the shooting victims.
“We’re a strong community. We’re loving to everyone — even for that man who did this horrible thing. We love and forgive,” Aman Sangha said.
One man proudly told FOX6 News Monday night he is the brother of a victim who tried to stop the shooter.
During the vigil, prayers were offered to remember the victims who lost their lives, and those still fighting at Froedtert Hospital — including Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, and 50-year-old Santokh Singh.
Sikh members also used the vigil to raise awareness about their non-violent religion and the prejudice Sikhs often endure.
“We always feared this since 9-11, that someday this thing might happen. It did happen on a smaller level, but not on this level,” President of Sikh Temple in Brookfield, Gurcharan Singh Grewal said.
Sikh Temple members made a point during the vigil to welcome outsiders. They want to educate people about the Sikh faith. They handed out booklets that explain their traditions, dress and services. Sikh members say they hope the more people that are educated about their faith, the less likely they’ll face violence again.
Oak Creek’s previously scheduled “National Night Out” will be held Tuesday, August 7th and will serve as a memorial honoring victims. The event will occur from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. — with a vigil to follow. Fireworks are cancelled.
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