San Jose Sikhs hold vigil for Indianapolis shooting victims

There was a big showing of support Sunday night from members of the Sikh community in the South Bay. Members remembered the lives lost in the shooting rampage at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis.

"When the community heard about this event that happened, everybody is shocked and feeling the loss," said Sukhdev Singh Bainiwal.

Half of the victims who died in Indianapolis were Sikh members. There was sorrow and sadness at the temple in San Jose, the largest temple in the United States. Members from San Jose and beyond came together for a vigil to express grief and solidarity.

Dozens of people attended including San Jose’s police chief.

"It is important for us to join together during this time of grief," said San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata.

The shooting is reminiscent of one at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012 when six members were killed. The shooting in Indianapolis is the second-biggest loss to the community.

There were chants and prayers from Sikh Gurdwara San Jose for Indianapolis, some 2,000 miles away. No personal ties with the tragedy but members said they are all part of the same community.

"It’s shocking and it feels like this could happen anywhere," said Bainiwal.

Feelings are raw three days after a 19-year-old former FedEx employee opened fire at a warehouse, gunning down eight people before taking his own life. Four of the victims were Sikh members.

"Those are regular people who were doing their jobs at the station and for no reason they’ve been gunned down which is very sad because they are hard-working Americans," said Harpreet Pannu.

While a motive has not been determined, 80 percent working in that FedEx facility are Sikh. Members want a thorough investigation.

"It’s more near and dear to our hearts that our community is being attacked," said Bainiwal.

They feel helpless after a string of mass shootings in the United States. This shooting is the deadliest since Boulder Colorado less than a month ago.

"We’ve been having these kind of vigils too often, all we can do is pray," said Bob Dhillon.

There was a plea to lawmakers on every level for tougher gun legislation and a message from the temple’s president for Sikh and non-Sikh to get rid of hate starts with understanding diverse communities.

The San Jose temple has reached out to members in Indianapolis to offer support, both financial and moral support.

Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Azenith at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or