Wisconsin Weeps for Sikh Temple Shooting Victims
Hundreds gather at Milwaukee's Cathedral Park and elsewhere to hold vigils in remembrance of the those who died in Sunday's shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek.
A few hundred people gathered at Cathedral Square in downtown Milwaukee Sunday night to begin the healing process following Sunday's mass shooting in Oak Creek.
People prayed, sang and offered their thoughts about how to come together following the killing of seven people at the Sikh Temple, 7512 S. Howell Ave. Three others were injured, including an Oak Creek police officer.
A pastor who led the group in prayer mentioned the shooting in Aurora, CO, just a few weeks earlier that left 12 dead inside a movie theater.
"That was a place where families go. This was a shooting that evil came into the world and moved up one level — it went into the house of worship," he said.
"What's the next level?"
Stephanie Haw, one of three organizers of the vigil, is a Greendale resident who said she wanted to do something after watching hours of media coverage of the shootings.
"We all just felt kind of helpless," she said.
"We didn't want to sit at home and be angry or be scared. We wanted to show we could do something. It might not be a lot, but it's still something."
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Haw said the tragedy hit close to home for the south-side Milwaukee County resident. Her family can see the Oak Creek water tower from their home and they do their grocery shopping at the Oak Creek Woodman's — just minutes from the temple.
"You never think this is going to happen in your neighborhood, to people you could have brushed elbows with," she said.
In Whitefish Bay, about 40 people from different faiths gathered for a prayer service and vigil to make sense of the violence and pray for peace at Christ Church of Whitefish Bay.
People from various Christian denominations, local synagogues and others came together for one moment in brotherhood through prayer and a candlelight vigil in front of the church on Lake Drive.
Abe Caceres, an ethnomusicologist from Glendale, led the congregation in an Indian song titled "Sarennam," which means "We surrender" — not to darkness, but to light.
The Rev. Seth Dietrich said he held the service as a way to show solidarity with the Sikh community.
"I think sometimes there is a need in the wake of a tragedy to do something, but there isn't a whole lot we can do right now," he said. "Coming together for prayer, music and meeting people of different faiths is something we can tangibly do to show solidarity with the Sikh community."
Melissa Ugland, a member at United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay, came to Christ Church to join her neighbors in prayer.
"It was comforting to be with other people of faith, especially across different religions...when you're trying to make sense of something that's senseless," she said.
Other events were held throughout Milwaukee County and in Madison Sunday, and Oak Creek is planning a memorial event on Tuesday night.