Seven people died when a white supremacist opened fire at Oak Creek‘s Sikh Temple on Aug. 5, 2012, and the community continues to remember the victims a decade later. For some, the journey to mark the anniversary began thousands of miles away. Thousands of people from across the nation came together to remember and honor those who lost their lives on that tragic day in Wisconsin.
United States President Joe Biden on Friday observed the 10th anniversary of the Oak Creek shooting which is considered the most brutal attack on Sikh Americans in the US history by issuing a statement. Mourning the loss of the six individuals who lost their lives during the attack and one more who survived but died a few years after, the President said, “Jill and I know that days like today bring back the pain like it happened yesterday, and we mourn with the victims’ families, the survivors, and the community devastated by this heinous act.
“When generations of Sikh-Americans in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, constructed their own place of worship after years of renting local halls, it was a sacred place of their own and a connection shared with the broader community. That sense of peace and belonging was shattered on the morning of August 5, 2012, when a white supremacist wielding a semiautomatic handgun arrived at the Gurdwara and began shooting,” President Joe Biden stated in a statement issued by the White House.
“It’s a chance to reflect on the Sikh-American experience and how the Sikh community has responded to these sort of events,” said Tejpaul Singh Bainiwal, who was part of the Sikh Motorcycle Club left Stockton, California.
On the morning of Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, the gurdwara (a Sikh house of worship) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, was attacked by a white supremacist and U.S. Army veteran. The gunman killed six worshippers and injured several others, including Baba Punjab Singh, a community elder who was paralyzed (and ultimately died from his injuries in 2020), and Lt. Brian Murphy, a heroic responding police officer who was shot some 15 times in an exchange of gunfire.
The assault remains the worst-ever attack on Sikhs in our country, and at the time, it was the deadliest attack on a U.S. house of worship of any kind in decades.