CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score

Local

Funeral Services Held For Sikh Temple Massacre Victims

Sikh Temple Massacre Memorial

The memorial for victims of the massacre at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. (Credit: CBS)

Roseanne Tellez Roseanne Tellez
Roseanne Tellez is the co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago′s midday News at...
Read More
Lastest News Headlines:

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

UPDATED 08/10/12 11:38 a.m.

OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBS) — People of all faiths, and from all over, paid their respects Friday for the six victims who were killed at a massacre at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., this past Sunday.

As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, the funeral was at the Oak Creek High School gymnasium, at 340 E. Puetz Rd. in Oak Creek, and huge crowds turned out.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

One mourner observed that the shooter tried to divide people, but accomplished the exact opposite. Instead, Roman Catholics, Jews and Sikhs all pulled together.

They filled the parking lot of the high school, and many other lots, and were also dropped off by the busload to honor innocent victims.

Mourners were greeted by the sound of traditional Sikh hymns. Six coffins were lined up, with six photographs of those taken by the gunman, as people file past to pay respects.

“We’ve got buses coming in from Phoenix, from Chicago, from all over the country; people from London, Canada, California, you name it,” said spokesman Darian Rodriguez-Heyman.

Relatives of one of the victims described the tremendous outpouring of support.

“The cooperation we’re getting is 98 percent of people are with us, and 2 percent, I just don’t get,” said Jagjit Singh Kaleka, the older brother of slain temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka. “They are not going to go away. They’ll stick around. You and I have to deal with it, one way or another. That’s why we are together. That gives us the courage to deal with the problems we are facing.”

Even police officers at the service appeared moved. One was seen one comforting another at the combination visitation and memorial.

Relatives of the victims, Sikh leaders and even U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder were to make remarks at the funeral. After that, victims’ families will gather privately for cremations.

One family member said it warms his heart to see the news media and the public learning more about Sikhs, such as how to pronounce the name of the faith correctly, and the traditional Rumala, or headdress, that women are asked to wear during services.

He says the gunman may have had hate on his agenda. But on Friday, the atmosphere was one of love and understanding.

On Sunday morning, gunman Wade Michael Page, 38, opened fire on worshipers at the temple, or gurdwara, with a 9mm handgun, without saying a word.

Six of his victims died, and three others were critically wounded, including a police officer who responded to the shooting.

Police returned fire and wounded Page, and he shot and killed himself afterward.

In addition to Kaleka, killed in the massacre were Bhai Seeta Singh and Bhai Parkash Singh – both granthis, or priests; Bhai Ranjit Singh – a raagee, or cantor; and Subegh Singh, a member of the sangat; and Parmjit Kaur Toor, also a member of the sangat and the only woman who was slain.

Six of his victims died, and three others were critically wounded, including a police officer who responded to the shooting.

Police returned fire and wounded Page, and he shot and killed himself afterward.

The motive for the shooting has not been revealed, but in the wake of the massacre, it was learned that gunman Page had ties to white supremacist groups. He headed what’s being called a white-power band called “End Apathy,” and, in 2005, Page gave an interview to the white supremacist record company Label56, in which he described his band as being inspired by “trying to figure out what it would take to actually accomplish positive results in society and what is holding us back.”

He also applied to become a member of the Ku Klux Klan at one point, according to published reports.