Millennium Post

A year on, US announces grant for Gurdwara shoot-out victims

US administration has announced a grant of more than half a million dollars for the victims of the Oak Creek Gurdwara shootout, after the Sikh community began a four-day memorial service observing the tragic incident, US Attorney General, Eric Holder said.

‘I'm pleased to announce that the Justice Department's office on victims of crime will offer an emergency assistance grant to the Wisconsin Department of Justice providing over USD 5,12,000 to help reimburse, and continue to pay for, mental health and trauma services for the victims and survivors of this horrific shooting,’ he said in a blog post.

He added that the funds are intended to assist all those affected including family members, witnesses, first responders and the wider Oak Creek community as they continue to rebuild their lives and keep displaying the extraordinary resiliency so many of us have come to admire.
‘This Monday, marks the one-year anniversary of the senseless murders of six Sikh worshippers Satwant Singh Kaleka, Paramjit Kaur, Prakash Singh, Ranjit Singh, Sita Singh and Suveg Singh at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, in Oak Creek, at the hands of a lone gunman,’ he said.

Last year on 5 August, a gunman walked into the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, and began shooting as priests were gathering in the lobby, women were preparing a communal meal in the kitchen and worshipers were arriving for services in which six people were killed and six others wounded, including a police officer who was shot multiple times while aiding a victim.

This heinous act of hatred and terror also seriously injured several other worshippers, as well as Oak Creek Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who was shot 12 times at close range while attempting to save others, said the Attorney General.

Holder said the attack in Oak Creek was particularly jarring not only because of its scale, and the number of victims involved, but also because it occurred in a place of worship; of fellowship; and above all of peace.

The grant to Wisconsin Government for the Oak Creek victims would be given by the Office of Justice Programs' Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), which in a statement said those affected by the crime include the 24 other congregants hiding in the temple, victims' family members, witnesses, first responders and the larger Oak Creek community.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice will use the grant funds toward expenses associated with mental health and trauma services, including specialised services for children, as well as crime victim compensation resources to assist the victims of this tragedy, it said.

Following an act of terrorism or mass violence, jurisdictions can apply for an AEAP grant award for crisis response, criminal justice support, crime victim compensation, and training and technical assistance expenses.
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