Dozens of shocked members of the tight-knit Sikh community in suburban Milwaukee waited for hours in the basement of a bowling alley on Sunday, waiting to hear if their loved ones were among the six gunned down in a nearby gurdwara. Outside, other Sikhs could be seen leaving for the site of the tragedy, where a lone white gunman had gone on a shocking massacre.
"They're grieving," said Zorina Lopac, a woman raised as a Sikh, "They are hurt. And they are angry."
Meanwhile, authorities remained tight-lipped about the identities of the victims, upsetting relatives who awaited word from them in the dead hours after the shooting.
Around 3,000 Sikh families reside in the Milwaukee area, and the gurdwara — where the tragedy took place — was founded in October 1997, with its
congregation comprising 20 to 25 families.
The day of the incident was a typical Sunday morning, with the faithful starting to gather by mid-morning, said Jagpal Singh, a local resident. When the gunman entered the kitchen and opened fire, several people locked themselves in bathrooms to escape the onslaught.
Stating that it was through a stroke of luck that the gunman went on the rampage an hour before most Sikhs turned up, Manminder Sethi, a member of the congregation, said, "If the guy had chosen the noon hours, I cannot imagine how much damage he could have done."