A woman looks at a collage of photos of Amarjeet Johal during a vigil at Monument Circle on Sunday in Indianapolis. Four of the people killed in the mass shootings were members of the Sikh community. Jon Cherry / Getty Images hide subtitles
Jon Cherry / Getty Images
Jon Cherry / Getty Images
Members of the Sikh community in Indianapolis mourn the loss of four of their members who were killed in a shooting attack on Thursday night in a FedEx warehouse that left eight dead.
“These types of violent attacks pose a threat to all of us,” community member Maninder Singh Walia said in a statement released by the Sikh coalition. “Our church has a long way to go in healing – physically, spiritually, and spiritually – to recover from this tragedy.”
According to the coalition, the local Sikh community has grown significantly over the past two decades. An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Sikh Americans live in Indiana.
The police identified the victims of the shooting as Matthew R. Alexander (32), Samaria Blackwell (19), Amarjeet Johal (66), Jaswinder Kaur (64), Jaswinder Singh (68), Amarjit Sekhon (48), Karlie Smith (19) ) and John Weisert (74).
The shooter was identified as 19-year-old Brandon Hole. He was an employee in the facility and last worked there in 2020, according to police officers.
The shock of the massacre is only compounded by the fact that employees are not allowed to have cell phones at work. As a result, many family members could not call.
Amarjeet Johal’s granddaughter, Komal Chohan, said in a statement that several members of her family work at the facility “and are traumatized. My nani, family, and families shouldn’t feel unsafe at work, in their place of worship, or anywhere. Enough.” is enough – our church has gone through enough trauma. ”
Johal had planned to work a double shift and then take Friday off, Chohan said in a tweet. She said her grandmother then decided to grab her check and leave. Johal was later spotted with her check in hand, Chohan said.
Amarjit Sekhon was a mother of two and started working at the FedEx facility in November. Her brother-in-law, Kuldip Sekhon, said she was a “hard worker,” reported the Indianapolis Star.
“She liked to work. She liked to eat. She liked money,” he said. “If you wanted to go shopping with her, she would go with you.”
Representatives of eight gurdwaras from the Indianapolis area – Sikh places of worship – called for action.
“We don’t yet know the shooter’s motive and may never know exactly what made him do what he did,” they said in a statement. “We do know, however, that the FedEx facility he is targeting is known to have a large Sikh workforce. Given all the past experiences our community has had – the pattern of violence, bigotry and backlash we have faced – it is impossible to feel the same pain and the same goal in this moment. “
Authorities have not indicated whether the shooter targeted the Sikh community in particular. Even so, bigoted acts of violence and harassment are nothing new to the American Sikh community.
After the 9/11 attacks, Sikhs – often mistaken for Muslims – were victims of anti-Islamic hate crimes.
In 2012, a white supremacist entered a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and opened fire, killing six people.
Valarie Kaur, a Sikh civil rights activist and attorney, told NPR in 2017 that violence against Sikhs is less about “false identity” cases and more about general xenophobia.
Whether in the early 1900s or today, Kaur said, “It seems to matter little to hate crime perpetrators whether the person they attack is Sikh rather than Muslim. They see turbans, beards, and tan skin, and enough.” to see us as foreigners, suspects and potentially terrorists. “
Sikh Coalition Executive Director Sajeet Kaur told NPR on Sunday: “Far too often, marginalized communities like ours are targeted and we need to find these sensible measures to ensure everyone feels safe, whether at home or at home in a place of worship, whether it’s at school, whether it’s at work or at the cinema. ”
President Biden called the ongoing gun massacres across the country a “national embarrassment” on Friday.
“Who in God’s name needs a gun that can last 100 rounds? Or 40 rounds? Or 20 rounds?” Said Biden at a press conference. “It’s just wrong and I won’t give up until it’s done.”
In a statement, he called gun violence an epidemic in America that should not be accepted.