Around 50 people gathered Sunday morning for a in hopes of helping police find the shooter who in an Elk Grove neighborhood earlier this year.
The crowd included relatives of Surinder Singh, 65, and Gurmej Singh Atwal, 78, who were shot March 4 while taking their daily walk. Elk Grove Mayor Steven Detrick and Councilmember Sophia Scherman also turned out to show their support.
Volunteers arrived at the scene of the crime on East Stockton Blvd, then broke up into groups to visit neighboring businesses, where they hung fliers advertising $57,000 in reward money. The goal: to remind community members of the murders and that the people responsible have not been yet been caught.
“I am hoping the fliers will motivate someone to come forward and get a break to this case,” said . “[The Elk Grove Police Department] could do a lot more if there is a witness or a clue or a tip.”
Many members of the local Sikh community attended the event, some saying they saw the killings as an act of discrimination. (The men were wearing traditional Sikh headwear when they were shot.)
“Ignorance can reach such a crazy level,” said volunteer Gagandeep Mann. “We can’t let people be ignorant anymore. Stuff like this happens every day and these were two innocent people taking a walk.”
The current reward pot, raised by community groups and law enforcement, includes an extra $15,000 if the killings are determined to be a hate crime.
Detrick called the attack on the two senior citizens "unconscionable."
“I can’t wait for the day that our Elk Grove Police Department has these cowards behind bars and they are punished by the fullest extent of the law,” said Detrick, who spent several hours canvassing businesses near the intersection of East Stockton Blvd and Calvine Road with Elk Grove Police Capt. Bryan Noblett.
Almost all of the business owners the two spoke with agreed to hang fliers in their windows, and most said they had heard of the attacks.
The fliers mention that police say was seen in the area around the time of the shootings. Detectives seek information about the truck or its owner.
Noblett said that the department has continued to receive many tips, and all of them have been investigated, but none have created any major leads.
“We’re committed to the case,” Noblett said. “Maybe this will generate the tip that will get us where we need to go.”
Atwal's granddaughter, Navjit Kaur, said she was heartened to see the large group of volunteers from both within and outside the Sikh community.
"It’s very hard because we just lost a member of our family,” Kaur said. “It’s overwhelming, and it’s nice that people are coming up and showing their respect and helping out in any way that they can.”
Anyone with information about the murders can contact the Elk Grove Police Department at 916-478-8000 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Alerts at 916-443-HELP or www.crimealerts.org.