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Sikh Temple in Oak Creek reopens Thursday following shooting

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OAK CREEK — The Sikh Temple in Oak Creek reopened Thursday, August 9th following Sunday’s shooting in which six lost their lives, and three were critically wounded. Officials say 40-year-old Wade Michael Page entered the temple and opened fire during a Sunday service.

Temple volunteers were inside the temple early Thursday morning to cleanse the temple with a religious ceremony using blessed water. Volunteers were met with broken windows and carpeting had been removed.

The “Sikh Coalition” tweeted photos of volunteer crews cleaning, and a photo of the pantry where many hid Sunday morning as gunfire erupted. A temple head priest was one of those who hid in the pantry, and spoke through an interpreter about returning there Thursday.

“The tragic scene of the shooting on that day he had seen , witnessed and went through, has come back to haunt him again and he feels very, very, bad that this is a temple for peace, so he has a lot of anguish, grief, resentment,” the interpreter said of the priest.

While the Sikh holy scriptures will be read from beginning to end at the Sikh Temple Friday and Saturday, the bodies of the six victims will lie in state at Oak Creek High School from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Friday.

“I invite everyone who’s interested and wants to meditate with us and listen to the music and get some of the teachings — but also visit the bodies and visit the families and show your support, please show up at 9:00 a.m. and please feel free to stay as long as you want,” Amardeep Kaleka — son of one of the six victims, Satwant Singh Kaleka said.

After the public ceremony Friday, three private funerals are planned, with another three planned for Saturday.

“Minimally I hope that Americans get introduced to another culture. At the maximum I hope that Americans can turn off their violent  ways,” Kaleka said.

Three survivors are still in the hospital, but two of them have had their condition upgraded. Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy is now in satisfactory condition, and Santokh Singh is now in serious condition. Punjab Singh remains in critical condition.

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