Two Sikh men in Sacramento gunned down, possible hate crime

Sacramento BeeMarch 6, 2011 

Police said Saturday that they don't know why someone gunned down two men – frail from heart attacks and advancing years – as they slowly ambled through a quiet Elk Grove neighborhood during their daily afternoon walk.

Surinder Singh, 67, died Friday afternoon on the sidewalk along East Stockton Boulevard near Geneva Pointe Drive. Gurmej Atwal, his 78-year-old friend, was shot twice in the chest. His family said he was in critical but stable condition.

In a statement released late Saturday, Elk Grove Police Chief Robert Lehner called on witnesses to come forward and said, "We have no evidence to indicate there was a hate or bias motivation for this crime; however, the obvious Sikh appearance of the men, including the traditional Dastar headwear and lack of any other apparent motive, increasingly raise that possibility."

Lehner also said he had "made preliminary notification" to the local FBI office.

Relatives and friends in the tightknit Sikh community to which the two men belong were not as hesitant to call the shooting a hate crime.

Read the complete story at sacbee.com

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