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Local Vigil Shows Solidarity for Victims in Wisconsin Sikh Shootings

Dozens show up Wednesday night for a remembrance vigil for those who died in at a Gurdwara in Milwaukee Sunday.

Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike gathered Wednesday night at the  in St. Peters to remember the victims of .

Among those there were members of  Sikh Gurudwara St. Louis, which meets on Sundays at the Rose Hill Masonic Temple in Creve Coeur.

After a prayer inside, the large crowd flocked outside for a candle lighting ceremony. Once the candles were lit, Sikh members began to pray.

Following the candle lighting, it was back inside for another prayer and then a langar —a free meal for all in attendance. 

Sikh member Deepa Jaswal said the event was planned quickly.

"We just started planning this, literally, a little more than 24-hours ago, but we've gotten tons of support," Jaswal said. "... We've had a really positive response—I think the people have been really effected by what happened in Wisconsin."

Despite the quick turnaround, the parking lot was jam-packed and a large crowd did show up. 

"I'm glad everyone is coming out," said Lucky Singh, the Assistant to the Gyanie. "It's nice to see everyone."

Both Singh and Jaswal said that the events in Wisconsin were tragic, but the Sikh community has felt a positive reaction. 

"We're getting exposure for the religion—that's the good thing that came out of it," Singh said. 

Jaswal said her co-workers knew before Sunday that she practiced a different relgion, but now they understand more of her beliefs. 

"What happened in Wisconsin was tragic and senseless, but at the same time, you see us in the media now," Jaswal said. "You're able to identify us and who we are. It's not like, 'Oh yeah, I see these people with turbans on; are they Muslim? Are the Hindu?' In a way, it has been positive because we've gotten such a strong response. ...Now people are able to understand what we do follow and what our beliefs are."

A Creve Coeur Police spokesperson confirmed that the department has been in touch with Sikh Gurudwara St. Louis members, and will conduct extra patrols during services.

A St. Charles County Sheriff's Deputy was on hand for Wednesday's ceremony, but he wasn't needed. The event was peaceful and incident free.

Creve Coeur Patch Editor Gregg Palermo contributed information for this report.

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