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“He was a very decent, kind man, very dedicated to protecting and providing for the ones he loved,” Mike Weisert said.
Members of the Sikh community gathered in Indianapolis on Friday.Credit…A J Mast for The New York Times
At least four of the eight victims of the Thursday night shooting were part of the local Sikh community, many of them drawn to the Indianapolis area to take jobs at places like the FedEx warehouse that was attacked.
The warehouse employed many Sikhs, and on Friday, relatives confirmed the deaths of Jasvinder Kaur, 50; Amarjit Sekhon, 49; Jaswinder Singh, 70; and Amarjeet Johal, 66.
In a statement from the Sikh Coalition, a granddaughter of Ms. Johal’s, Komal Chohan, said that she had several family members who worked at the warehouse and that she was heartbroken about “the senseless shooting.”
“My nani, my family and our families should not feel unsafe at work, at their place of worship, or anywhere,” she said. “Enough is enough — our community has been through enough trauma.”
Although the motive of the gunman is unknown, local leaders said his actions generated fear similar to what many Sikhs felt after the Sept. 11 attacks, when they were confused for Muslims, and after a 2012 rampage by a white supremacist, who killed six people at a gurdwara, or Sikh temple, in Oak Creek, Wis.
“We don’t know whether this was targeted or a coincidence,” said Dr. Sukhwinder Singh, 29, a leader at his gurdwara southeast of Indianapolis. “We are all so numb. This is something that will take weeks to process.”
The Sikh community in Indianapolis has grown in recent years. The Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, a large gurdwara, was built about 20 years ago, and has grown from about 50 families to about 1,000 members, according to the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University.
The community is known for its long history of service, supporting victims of natural disasters and, during the coronavirus pandemic, organizing food drives and grocery delivery for older people. An annual Sikh day parade started in Indianapolis about six years ago.