Sikh community celebrates anniversary of mass shooting

OK Creek, Wisconsin. (CBS 58) — Turns 10 this anniversary of the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

A white nationalist opened fire during a service at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, 2012, killing six people and injuring four others.

One of the victims later died from injuries sustained that day in 2020.

The shooter was shot dead by police before turning the gun on himself.

As the anniversary of that tragic day approaches, Pardeep Singh Kaleka said that their close-knit community is remembering the lives lost and accepting the sacrifices made along the way.

“I think back ten years ago and I think I could take life for granted,” Kaleka Singh said.

Singh Kaleka’s father, the temple president at the time, was among those killed in the shooting.

“We remember the seven people we lost. We continue to build around this wound,” Kaleka Singh said.

Singh Kaleka said a lot has changed in the last decade, including increased security measures and helping the community to better understand Sikhism.

“We are not a mystery because we wear different clothes or pray differently. We are literally just like you,” Jasprit Kaleka said.

As mass shootings have become more common in the United States over the past decade, they say changes are needed at higher levels.

“What we say matters and when we say something disparaging, especially towards minority communities, they can be subjected to violence,” Kaleka Singh said.

If 10th As the anniversary draws near, Kaleka Singh said the Wisconsin Sikh temple has been and will remain true to its faith, even in the midst of fear.

“I think we understand that this sacrifice has been made not only for our people, but for America as a whole, and we need to really think about how we can build a more loving, inclusive society as we move forward,” Kaleka Singh said.

The Wisconsin Sikh Temple invites everyone to a vigil on Friday, August 8th. 5 from 6 to 9 pm to remember lost lives.