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Sikh leaders respond to San Jose railyard shooting as many community members worked at the facility

The 'Sikhs of Tracy' organization says the VTA facility where the shooting happened has quite a few Sikh commuters that live in the San Joaquin region.

TRACY, Calif. — Although the identities of the victims in the San Jose railyard shooting have not been revealed as of Wednesday afternoon, a number of Sikh community members work at the Valley Transit Authority in San Jose.

The Sikhs of Tracy said that this is a sad day for the Sikh community.

"This is a very hard tragedy, especially for the Sikh community," Gurtej Atwal, co-founder of Sikhs of Tracy, said.

Sikhs of Tracy is a support and advocacy group formed after an elderly Sikh man, 64-year-old Parmjit Singh, was stabbed to death in a Tracy city park two years ago.

“This is so shocking because it happened at a workplace, so a workplace is a place we go to earn the bread and butter, for ourselves and our families. Today somebody’s father, somebody’s husband, brother, sister or wife or a friend have lost their life," he said. 

Atwal says the VTA facility where the shooting happened has quite a few Sikh commuters that live in the San Joaquin region.

"It has a greater outreach and people, hard-working people, who are kind of less communicative with the language but they have the skillsets, they got the opportunities there," he said. "Many of the families from the Central Valley do commute there to go to work so our prayers are with the families and loved ones who have lost their lives without any reason."

Atwal, who also happens to be the City of Tracy's Planning Commissioner, says his cousin works at this VTA railyard and was driving into work Wednesday morning when he heard about this shooting. 

"My cousin, he works at the same maintenance yard where the shooting happened, so he called me early in the morning and informed me about this sad incident," he said. "I think an hour ago, he said one Sikh community member who works there, they’re still trying to locate where he is."

The Sikh Coalition, a community-based organization that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people, put out a statement on Twitter about the shooting on Wednesday afternoon saying, "The Sikh Coalition was deeply saddened to learn of this morning's shooting at a San Jose, CA VTA facility. We understand that there are many Sikhs employed at this facility, and the community is in our prayers and our hearts as we work to learn more."

WATCH MORE FROM ABC10: San Jose mass shooting: Here's what we know | May 26th, 2021

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