By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sikhs gather to remember victims
Hundreds of Sikhs and community leaders joined together at the Hughson Sikh Temple on Friday to remember the six Sikhs killed when a white supremacist opened fire in an Oak Creek, Wis. temple on Sunday.

Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra addressed the gathering and expressed sorrow at the loss of lives in a religious community known for its peace and patriotism. Others expressed sadness that the gunman targeted Sikhs, a people who wear turbans and uncut beards and are known for their peaceful, accepting ways. Sikhs have been mistaken for Arab Muslims in the past, especially in the days following 9/11.

"The Sikhs have a patriotism that is second to none," said Vierra who added that stereotypes made against them are "really unfair."

Vierra noted that the Hatch Road temple's acts of charity included feeding anyone in the community on Sundays for a nominal donation.

The Wisconsin gunman, Wade Michael Page, 40, entered the Oak Creek Sikh temple shortly before 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, where he opened fire with a 9mm handgun, killing or fatally wounding six people. He later took aim at an Oak Creek police officer, who was in the process of helping a victim.

Page was reportedly an Army veteran, a neo-Nazi, and the front man for a white-supremacist hardcore rock band. He fatally shot himself before police did following the shooting rampage.

Though the shooting was a tragedy, many expressed hope that the event would help others learn about the Sikh community.

A vigil held in Turlock was attended by Mayor John Lazar, council members Amy Bublak and Forrest White, Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson, Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden, representatives from the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, and a spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock).

"I'm hopeful that more people will want to know what the Sikh community is all about," Chief Jackson told the gathering there.

"You cannot, with evil, destroy good," Wasden said. "We will always stand together."