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Hundreds Pay Respects To Victims Killed At Sikh Temple In Wisconsin
2012-08-10 14:09:25 (215 weeks ago)
Posted By: Intellpuke
As prayer, music and chanting filled the building, hundreds streamed into an Oak Creek, Wis., gymnasium Friday morning to pay their final respects to the woman and five men killed in Sunday's rampage.

Non-Sikhs wearing kerchiefs on their heads and Sikhs alike marched together in neat rows, with some of them stopping at times to embrace one another and exchange a few words. A priest spoke and recited prayers in the native Indian Punjabi.

"Today we mourn with you, we pray with you and we support you,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told those gathered.

Walker praised the Sikhs' "peaceful faith" and their reaction following the shootings, saying they had shown that the best way to respond to the violence is with love.

"No matter what country your ancestors come from, no matter where you worship, no matter where you’re from, as Americans, we are one,” he said.

Walker was to be joined by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the memorial service.

(story continues below)

In a tradition to honor the dead, priests will begin a process known as Akhand Path, a reading of the entire Sikh holy book, which is expected to take about 48 hours, the BBC reported.

"We want to pay homage to the spirits who are still in there," Harpreet Singh, the nephew of one of the victims, told the BBC.

As visitors -- including several police officers -- moved toward the seats, passing six caskets, a projection screen showed photos of those killed after a gunman opened fire at the Oak Creek Sikh temple.

On Thursday, Sikhs were allowed to return to their temple for the first time since the shootings. Members have spent the last day painting walls and replacing blood-stained carpet. After the memorial service in the gymnasium, they plan to return to the temple.

Religious leaders and parishioners keep searching for answers following the Sunday tragedy. FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson said during a Wednesday news conference that investigators have not yet "clearly defined a motive."

Wade Michael Page was identified Monday by authorities as the sole shooter at the temple. Authorities said the 40-year-old former Army sergeant and white supremacist entered the gurdwara armed with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. The FBI said Page died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after he was shot by police.

The temple's leader told he hoped Indian-owned businesses around the world would close Friday in the victims' memory.

Congressman Paul Ryan is also expected to attend.

Intellpuke: You can read this article by NBC News Correspondent Becky Bratu in context here:
Reporting by Associated Press writers was used in this news article.

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