Hundreds gather at temple in shooting aftermath

Vigil is rarely open to the public, media
Hundreds gather at temple in shooting aftermath

The Sikh community welcomed hundreds of people, including those of other faiths, to a Brookfield temple where they mourned the loss of six people slain at a sister temple in Oak Creek.

Many came to the Brookfield temple Monday night to offer support to Sikh members, including Gov. Scott Walker and his wife, Tonette. Hope Bailey, of Muskego, brought her 9-year-old son, Brandon, to the temple. A tearful Bailey said she wanted her son to know that it was important to love everyone and to show support to Sikh families.

Sikh members gave visitors of other faiths scarves to cover their heads as they welcomed them. Sikh women prepared a meal in the basement kitchen, just as another group of women were doing on Sunday in Oak Creek when a gunman strode into the temple.

“Just because we look different, we wear turbans and have beards, we are no different than anybody else in your neighborhood,” said Dr. Bhupinder Sanni, a member of the Sikh teomple in Brookfield. “I’m a physician, someone else could be an engineer or a cabbie, it’s your neighbor, like anybody else out there.”

For more than an hour, the group prayed for the victim’s killed in what authorities called “domestic terrorism”. Then came a sermon, followed by speeches.

Men and women sat on opposite sides of the temple. But Sikh or not, they shared a common feeling.

“I’m sure Sikh people love their family members as much as we do,” said attendee Susan Ellman. “I just felt bad about it and wanted to be here.”