Sikh community holds vigil for Connecticut victims

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- One week after 26 people were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, The Valley’s Sikh religious community held a vigil for the victims.

“Our community prays with them because we've been through this pain, and we feel that pain when you lose a loved one, especially those little ones,” said Rana Singh Sodhi.

Sodhi’s brother, Balbir, was shot to death outside his Mesa gas station right after the 9-11 terror attacks in New York.  Police ruled the murder a hate crime because the gunman thought he was killing a Muslim, mistaking the traditional Sikh turban Balbir was wearing for the traditional headwear also used in Islam.

The Sikh community knows violence all too well; something it has in common with the victims of our country’s newest tragedy.  Six people were killed when a gunman walked into a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee and opened fire over the summer.

“My brother, he was innocent.  And these little children are very innocent.  It wasn't their fault.  Why were they killed?  Why was my brother killed?  We are all innocent victim families,” said Sodhi.

While Sodhi didn’t weigh in on the NRA’s proposed solution to the violence – putting armed guards in every school – he does believe something needs done about the gun culture in America.  He said if fewer people had powerful weapons, fewer people would die from guns and bullets.

“Anybody can buy those kinds of weapons.  Our nation needs to understand this is very, very sad - killing those innocent people.  We need to think about how we can stop this.”