Gurdwara shooting act of hatred: US
It was "wrong" and "unacceptable", US Attorney General Eric Holder said, addressing hundreds of people gathered at a high school gymnasium here to pay their final respects to those gunned down by a white supremacist on Sunday last.
Holder, who was deputed by US President Barack Obama to attend the memorial last evening, said it was "an act of terrorism; an act of hatred; a crime that is anathema to the founding principles of our nation and to who we are as a people."
In recent years, he said, too many Sikhs have been victimised because of their look.
"Unfortunately, for the Sikh community, this sort of violence has become all too common in recent years," Holder said referring to the despicable shooting incident, which he said was against the basic fabric of the nation and was an attack on the values of America.
"In the recent past, too many Sikhs have been targeted and victimised simply because of who they are, how they look, and what they believe," he said and asked Americans to discuss how to change the hearts of those so filled with hate.
"We must ask necessary questions of ourselves: what kind of nation do we truly want to have? Will we muster the courage to demand more of those who lead us and, just as importantly, of ourselves? What will we do to prevent that which has brought us here today from occurring in the future?"
The memorial was held nearly a week after Wade Michael Page, 40, an ex-army veteran, went on a shooting spree killing six Sikhs and injuring three others, including a police officer, at the gurdwara here before dying of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.
Meanwhile, the family of the police officer who took nine bullets while taking on the gunman, thanked the Sikh community for their prayers and support.
Lieutenant Brian Murphy and two others, Santokh Singh and Punjab Singh, were admitted to a city hospital after being injured in the shooting.
Murphy, 51, is in a satisfactory condition.
"We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support and compassion we have received from so many people during this difficult time for our family, and especially thank the Sikh community for including us in their prayers," the statement issued by Murphy`s family said.
In a media bulletin issued last night, Froedtert Hospital said the condition of Santokh Singh has been upgraded to satisfactory.
However, Punjab Singh remains in critical condition.