Washington, Sep 7 (IANS) The Indian American community in the small town of Elkhart was in a state of in shock as a vigil was held outside Saleh’s Market where two Sikh men were shot and killed during an attempted robbery.
Jagtar Bhatti and Pawan Preet Singh, both natives of Punjab, were running a grocery store in the small city of 50,000, in the midwestern state of Indiana, home of musical instrument and recreational vehicle factories that was once dubbed the “RV Capital of the World”.
Condemning Thursday’s deadly attack, Satnam Singh Chahal, executive director of North American Punjabi Association (NAPA), said Friday the Sikh community is living under the shadow of fear and insecurity. NAPA in a statement urged the US government to leave no stone unturned to take all necessary measures to protect the lives and property of the community.
A memorial now sits outside the market, according to Fox 28.com. People have left candles, flowers, stuffed animals, and more for Bhatti, 55, who hailed from Preet Nagar in Jalandhar and 20-year-old Pawan Singh from Munnan village in Hoshiarpur, Punjab.
A group of people gathered around the memorial Friday night to share stories of the two men, the news site said. They said Bhatti and Singh were extremely generous and well known in the community. The Elkhart Police has arrested 28-year-old Kevin Moore, said to be a regular customer at the market, for the murder Thursday morning.
People at the vigil also said the men who were killed as they worked inside Saleh’s Market were like family. They were always looking out for everybody in the neighbourhood and offering advice when they could.
The mourners said they aren’t just devastated by the loss of their friends but also by the shock of who is suspected of killing them.
Those at the vigil say they knew Moore, they called him “Lorenzo”.
Dionell Hill and Kiwhonei Nichols were quoted as saying Bhatti and Singh also knew Moore and no one ever expected him to do something like this.
Flyers were handed out at the vigil urging people to come to Mary Beck Elementary School Sep 15 to talk about forming a neighbourhood association.