ELK GROVE, California (KCRA) — Elk Grove’s newest park is also a site of remembrance.
“Singh and Kaur Park was actually scheduled to open next week,” said Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen. “We got permission to open early for our vigil.”
On Saturday, Singh-Allen and other community members gathered at Singh and Kaur Park for a candlelight vigil to remember the lives of two local men, lost in sudden tragedy.
“Surinder Kaur Singh and Gurmej Singh Atwal were murdered,” said Singh-Allen. “Two grandfathers [were] on their peaceful walk that day, and they were killed.”
KCRA 3 covered the shooting when it happened in March 2011. The two men were gunned down while walking on Stockton Boulevard. The killer has never been found.
“Our community feels bad. We feel insecure,” said Gurajtinder Randhawa, Elk Grove’s Diversity and Inclusion Commissioner.
The deadly shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis is opening up old wounds for many in the Sikh community. Bobbie Singh-Allen is the first directly-elected female Sikh mayor in the country.
“This FedEx facility was known to hire a high number of Sikh Americans. The first inclination is; is this a hate crime?” she said. “Law enforcement has not deemed it as one. One can’t help but wonder if the Sikhs were specifically targeted.”
Randhawa added that violence against his community is nothing new, but the city will continue to stand with people of all backgrounds.
“After 9/11…Sikhs have been killed in the USA,” he said. “If this kind of incident happens we feel insecure. We look different. We wear turbans. Our ladies wear different kinds of clothes.”
Elk Grove resident Alex Cheng spoke in favor of the new park.
“It’s important to keep that in the news. To keep honoring [the victims],” he said.
He added that with the rise in anti-Asian violence in recent months, the park was a positive reminder about the work being done to recognize and combat hate in the community.
“Growing up in this country, I experienced [hate] as a youth,” Cheng said. “To see it coming back again, it’s difficult. We’re hoping to provide a better future for our kids.”
The Indianapolis shooting is the worst attack on Sikh Americans and immigrants since 2012, when a gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, killing six people.
Anyone with information about the 2011 shooting is encouraged to contact Elk Grove police.
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