‘Deeply saddened:’ Sikh Temple shooting victim dies less than 8 years after tragedy

Baba Punjab Singh

OAK CREEK — One of four Sikh Temple of Wisconsin members injured in the shooting Aug. 5, 2012 that left six temple members dead passed away less than eight years after the tragedy, officials with the Sikh Coalition announced Monday, March 2.

Sikh Coalition officials shared this message on Twitter:

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Baba Punjab Singh. For more than seven years, Baba Punjab Singh remained partially paralyzed after being shot in the head during the 2012 Oak Creek shooting, which killed six Sikhs and injured many more. In a 2017 op-ed, Raghuvinder Singh–son of Baba Punjab Singh–shared that he would ask his father, “Are you living in Chardi Kala?” and Baba Punjab Singh would blink twice to answer “yes.” His outlook on life will always serve as a reminder that love is stronger than hate, and that we are strongest when we come together.”

Baba Punjab Singh’s family released this statement to FOX6 News:

“It is with sadness, but also peace and acceptance, that we confirm the passing of my father, Baba Punjab Singh. He was a beloved husband, father, and family member to us all, and equally revered by many in our community. Baba spent his life serving as a Sikh religious teacher who travelled the country and the world delivering kathas–orations that share the lessons and history of the Sikh faith.”

“Baba ji’s capacity for love and optimism was unchanged by the heinous attack in Oak Creek, as well as the life-altering injuries he sustained. Even when I regularly visited him in the hospital after his paralysis, I would ask him: Are you living in chardi kala, the Sikh spirit of eternal optimism? Each time, without fail, he would blink twice to say ‘yes.’ His resilience embodied the greater Sikh community’s response in the wake of the Oak Creek tragedy, and it was one of the many lessons he continually taught throughout his life.”

“My father’s injuries and his passing, along with the other lives lost that day, are a reminder of the toxic hate that still plagues our country. But I want Baba ji to be remembered by the values, inspired by Sikhi, that he exemplified every day–including love, equality, humility, eternal optimism, and service to others. These values, which are critically important to our collective humanity, can bring us all closer together. Our hope is that his life serves as a reminder of an essential truth of our faith: that the number of our breaths is written by God, but it falls to us to do our best in how we use them.”

Baba Punjab Singh was one of three in critical condition at Froedtert Hospital in the wake of the shooting. He was a visiting religious leader from India, who would spend blocks of time in the U.S. A temple member told FOX6 in India, Singh would help set up schools for poor, orphaned children. The others critically wounded were Baba Santokh Singh, and Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, who was first on the scene. He’s a visiting religious leader from India, who would spend blocks of time in the U.S.

On that August morning, Wade Michael Page, 40, fatally shot the six temple members and wounded the four others. He died by suicide — shooting himself in the head after he was shot in the hip by Officer  Sam Lenda.

Murphy was shot fifteen times at close range, including once in the face and once in the back of the head. He was discharged from the hospital on Aug. 22, 2012.

President Obama awarded Brian Murphy and Sam Lenda the Medal of Valor in 2015.

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