A reward of $10,000 has been offered to help police nab the culprit in the stabbing to death of a 68-year-old Sikh in California’s Fresno city last week, as possibility of hate crime motive was being probed.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer announced the reward at a news conference in which an enhanced video of the suspected killer of Gurcharan Singh Gill was shown to the media.
Gill, an employee at local liquor store at Shields Express, was at work when he was stabbed to death during broad day light on January 1.
“We need to identify this individual, arrest him and send him to prison,” Dyer was quoted as saying by The Fresno Bee.
The chief was joined at the news conference by Ike Grewal, a member of Fresno’s Sikh community, which is putting up $8,000 of the reward. The remainder is from the Crime Stoppers programme.
Police do not know whether the murder was committed because Gill was a Sikh, but investigators have not eliminated that as a motive.
The death of Gill, who had lived in the US for 30 years, marked the city’s first homicide of 2016. The video shows the light-skinned suspect, who police say appears to be between 16 and 18 and dressed in a red hoodie, jeans and a black baseball cap with a black backpack, walking south toward the market near Shields and West avenues from nearby Channing Avenue.
He waited outside the market for about five minutes before entering, possibly to make sure there were no customers present.
Inside the store, the suspect went to a counter and apparently sought the help of Gill regarding something inside a counter. Once Gill was within about a foot, the suspect stabbed Gill repeatedly. Gill tried to push himself away, retreated and picked up a golf club.
The suspect knocked Gill to the ground before returning to the cash register, which he could not open. He then took something from a shelf and walked out of the store in the same direction from which he approached. Gill died of his wounds minutes later.
Dyer said detectives are reviewing about 51 days of video from the store to determine whether the killer had been in the business before.
Grewal was quoted as saying that the Sikh community is in fear because the slaying took place in the aftermath of an attack on another 68-year-old Sikh man on December 26.