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Sikh community hosts vigil for Indianapolis mass shooting victims

Four of the eight people killed were members of the Sikh community. On Sunday night in Sacramento, the Sikh community mourned their loss.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — More than 100 people gathered on the steps of the Jessie Unruh building near the Capitol on Sunday evening to stand in solidarity with the Sikh community. 

On Thursday, April 15, a gunman killed eight people and wounded several others before apparently taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said. 

This latest act of violence in Indianapolis, especially hits home for some who live in the Sacramento area. Four of those killed belonged to the Sikh religious community and two of them had ties to Northern California.

Originally from India, Jaswinder Singh lived in Tracy for several years before relocating to Indianapolis. He was 68 years old when he was killed. Amarjeet Kaur Johal spent many years in Sacramento before moving to Indianapolis to be closer to her son. Her grandson addressed the crowd and recalled the moment he found out the unfortunate news.

"I found out when I was on lunch break at Instagram that she died," Tanveer Bariana, grandson of Johal, said. "Because it was Instargam we got the info faster. And then I had to give the information to my mom, who immediately broke down. It's just out of nowhere, from a page you don't expect to hear it from. You never expect it to be your own direct family, but it is what it is."

Also present Sunday evening at the vigil were Sacramento city councilmembers Mai Vang and Katie Valenzuela. They say the key to solving these kind of violent acts is to take preventative measures.

"As the government, our instinct is to say, 'oh there's a shooting, lets pay for more cops...or let's put up more camera.' And I don't want to keep responding after something happens," Valenzuela said. "I want us to invest in the things that try to keep that from happening, and that's the community support and that's going to be a fight as early as this next round of stimulus money and the budget"  

Mandeep Singh, the community organizer, says the conversation on gun control is way overdue and he plans to hold elected officials accountable.

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