By Stephen Magagnini
Nearly 100 community leaders including Sikhs from throughout Northern California gathered today at the West Sacramento gurdwara to announce a reward of nearly $30,000 for information leading to the arrest of those who shot two elderly men on their afternoon walk in Elk Grove last Friday.
The reward is for information about the fatal shooting of Surinder Singh and the wounding of his friend, Gurmej Atwal, as they walked along the street. The violence has shocked members of the Sikh community. Many fear they were shot because they were mistaken for being Muslim and are victims of a hate crime.
At today's event, Elk Grove Police Capt. Bryan Noblett said witnesses at the scene described a 1999-2003 beige or tan Ford F150 pickup truck in the area of the shooting.
Anyone who has seen or heard anything that might pertain to the case should call (916) 443-4357, the Elk Grove Police Department Crime Alert.
Some said the two men may have been targeted because of their appearance. They were wearing dastars, traditional Sikh turbans, and had beards in the tradition of their faith.
Singh, a farmer and truck driver from Punjab, India was "a peaceful man who adopted this country as his own," said his granddaughter Navi Kaur, 20. "How can anyone shoot a man that posed no harm to anyone? We are outraged that our father's appearance may have played a role in his death," she said.
"It is not acceptable to target anyone based on their appearance, religion or color of their skin. America is a nation of immigrants. We must get to know who our neighbors are and not live in a world of ignorance or hate.
"Our father wore his turban proudly. Our community will continue to wear their turbans proudly," Kaur said.
The perpetrators are "cowards for shooting an elderly man out on his daily walk."
Call The Bee's Stephen Magagnini, (916) 321-1072.
Attack on two Sikh men seen as possible hate crime - March 6, 2011
One man killed, another critically injured in Elk Grove shooting - March 5, 2011
KCRA: Reward put up in Elk Grove shooting