Memorial for Sikh temple shooting victims concludes - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Memorial for Sikh temple shooting victims concludes


OAK CREEK (WKOW) -- A deadly shooting Sunday at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee brought people across the state and around the world to Oak Creek Friday.

Killed in the attack Sunday were Paramjit Kaur, 41, Sita Singh, 41, Ranjit Singh, 49, Prakash Singh, 39, Suveg Khattra, 84, and Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65. Kaleka was the temple president.

"How can we look in the eye of a tragedy and find a blessing?" asked Kaleka's son, Pardeep Kaleka.

The victims brought several thousand supporters to the Oak Creek High School gym Friday.

"Their deaths are not in vain," said Sandeep Khattra. Her grandfather, Suveg Khattra, died in the shooting.

"Today I stand before you without a father," Pardeep said. "Yet in my grief, I seek solace in the fact that even in death my father has done more to promote awareness of the Sikh faith than he did when he was alive."

People lined up out the door for a turn to walk by the caskets and pay their respects while those inside joined in prayer and devotional hymns.

The sons of the only woman killed in the shooting were among the speakers.

"My mother was a great person, probably the most unselfish to live, in my eyes," said Kamal Saini, son of Paramjit Kaur.

Leaders from our state, our nation's capital and even India shared in celebrating the lives that were lost.

"Last Sunday showed us the worst in humankind, but every minute, every hour, every day since, you've exemplified and inspired the best in who we are," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Kaleka's son, Amardeep Kaleka, started the memorial by opening and reading from his father's journal.

"My labor is always free," he read.

In the end...

"Now, I just want to close the book. There's a lot, but I have to close my father's book now."

And with that, he and the Sikh community seek closure over lives lost too suddenly and unexpectedly.


OAK CREEK (WKOW) -- Thousands attended a memorial service Friday to pay their final respects to the six people killed Sunday at an Oak Creek Sikh temple.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, and other dignitaries attended Friday's ceremony.

Holder told mourners memorializing  the six victims that America is rallying around them in support. Holder spoke on behalf of President Barack Obama.

Holder says the fatal shooting rampage at the Oak Creek temple Sunday was not only an attack on the Sikh community, but an attack on the values of America itself. He says the Sikh community has inspired the country with its compassionate response to evil.

Gov. Walker says the Sikh community has shown everyone that the best way to respond to hate is with love.

Friday's memorial service drew thousands to the Oak Creek High School gymnasium where open, wooden caskets of the six victims were on display. A large video screen flashes photos of those killed and injured.


OAK CREEK (WKOW) -- Thousands of people are expected to pay their final respects to the six worshippers killed this week at an Oak Creek Sikh temple.

The wake and visitation is Friday morning in the Oak Creek High School gymnasium. Organizers initially planned for a two hour wake and visitation, but added two more hours when they realized how many people would come.

Governor Scott Walker, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Representative Paul Ryan are all expected to attend.

After the service, mourners plan to return to the temple and begin a traditional 48-hour ceremony that honors the memories of the victims. Killed in the attack Sunday were Paramjit Kaur, 41, Sita Singh, 41, Ranjit Singh, 49, Prakash Singh, 39, Suveg Singh, 84, and Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65. Kaleka was the temple president.

There is also a condolence book at the Wisconsin State Capitol for people to sign now through August 17. It will be delivered to the Sikh temple in Oak Creek after that. Governor Walker says, "Since the terrible acts of violence committed last Sunday at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, our entire state has been focusing on supporting the victims, their families, and the survivors of this tragedy and on helping the entire community and state to heal. We want to provide an opportunity for the public to send their sympathy and voice their support for the survivors and the whole community. It is important for us to stand together as a state in condemning this kind of evil and lifting up our neighbors in need. I would encourage anyone visiting the Wisconsin State Capitol in the next week to take the time to send a message of support."

The FBI says the gunman who opened fire on the temple was Wade Michael Page, 40. He was shot by a responding police officer, but killed himself with a gunshot to the head.

WKOW will be live streaming the visitation and funeral service beginning at 9:00 a.m. Friday. Watch the live video at

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