Hundreds attend vigil for shooting victims

Asian Image: The vigil was held in memoriam of those killed and wounded in a weekend Sikh temple shooting near Milwaukee. (Picture by: Daily Herald, Mark Welsh) The vigil was held in memoriam of those killed and wounded in a weekend Sikh temple shooting near Milwaukee. (Picture by: Daily Herald, Mark Welsh)

Hundreds of people gathered at a Sikh temple to mark the deaths of six fellow Sikhs in a shooting Sunday.

Vijay Talwar, 60, a member of the Brookfield temple, came to mourn and seek answers. "Why? Why? Why?" he asked.

Johinder San Dhawalia, 64, came to help his fellow Sikhs and allow himself to hurt. "Sadness, pain is everywhere," he said. "We can't bring them back."

Joe Curtis, 24, came because he felt compelled to show his respect. "It kind of feels awkward," he said, "but it's a way to show my remorse to the people that were affected by this tragedy."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was there, too, but the vigil was a place for the state's close-knit Sikh community to share sorrow.

The temple 20 miles away in Oak Creek, where Wade Page shot six people before a police officer shot and killed him is still behind police tape. Funerals there can't begin until at least Thursday, when law enforcement officials plan to vacate it. So everyone, it seemed, came here instead.

They began arriving more than an hour before the vigil was to begin and were still flowing in when the temple was filled beyond capacity.

On a table laden with flowers were children's drawings with messages of hope: "God never dies." "No hate." "Fearless."

Under gleaming chandeliers people sat shoeless — men on the left, women on the right — and listened to three musicians playing rhythmic music and chanting. One of the messages on a screen read, "Wealth, the beauty of youth and flowers are guests for only a few days."

Ravi Chawla, 65, stood in the temple's doorstep and dispensed hugs to arriving friends from Oak Creek. It was, she explained, her first chance to show her concern and loss.

"I'm just heartbroken right now," she said. "It's a terrible thing."

From USA Today

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