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Police Reveal New Suspect Vehicle in Sikh Murder Case

Investigation into killings of Gurmej Atwal, 78, and Surinder Singh, 65, nears one-year mark.

Elk Grove Police released a new sketch Wednesday of a vehicle they say was involved in on East Stockton Blvd last March.

The killer who gunned down as they went for their afternoon walk drove a tan or gold truck, police said at a press conference in City Council Chambers attended by the victims' families and city officials.

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Police said they did not know the make or model of the truck, but that it was a lifted, full-sized pickup with a standard cab. They based the sketch on witness statements and a surveillance video, taken from a distance, that puts the vehicle near the crime scene. It's a slightly different description than that of another vehicle police were seeking early on in the case.

Singh, 65, died at the scene of the shooting; Atwal, 78, after giving a brief bedside interview to detectives through a translator.

With the one-year anniversary of the shooting drawing near, city officials once again appealed to the public for help, saying investigators have been so far unable to locate any other witnesses who actually saw the attack.

"Cases like this get solved all the time with help from the public, even years later," said Mayor Jim Cooper. "Someone out there knows something. I would urge you to do the right thing and come forward."

While police have considered the possibility that the killings were a hate crime due to the men's traditional Sikh clothing and hairstyle, lead investigator Det. Kevin Papineau said his team still does not have enough information to confirm or refute that theory.

Papineau did reveal that investigators recovered shell casings from the scene that give them some clues as to the gun and ammunition used.

Police have also appealed to Gov. Jerry Brown to offer a special $50,000 Governor's Reward for information leading to an arrest, and hope to have the case featured on the television show America's Most Wanted. That's in addition to the $57,000 reward already collected by community members and Crime Alert.

Meanwhile, Atwal's son, Kamaljit Atwal, says his family continues mourning for the family-oriented former civil servant who loved to walk more than anything.

"I lost a father, my mom lost a husband, my kids lost a grandpa," he told Elk Grove Patch. "The local folks should bring some more good clues."

Anyone with information about the suspect vehicle or any other aspect of the crime can contact the Elk Grove Police Department at at 916-478-8000 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Alerts at 916-443-HELP or www.crimealerts.org.

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