Sikh Temple Shooting: 'Ignorance Is Not Going to Get Us Anywhere'
Members of the Sikh community in Milwaukee expressed outrage at the shooting.
"They went to church not knowing that they might die today," said Simran Kaleka, whose family was in the temple, according to ABC News Radio. "I don't know how sick you have to be to do that, and I don't know if it was directed toward the Sikh culture and them having turbans and having beards, but ignorance is not going to get us anywhere."
The wounded president of the temple, Satwant Singh Kaleka, had recently hosted state Rep. Josh Zepnick and the county district attorney to discuss a recent rise in violence against area Sikhs at their stores and businesses, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"It's gut wrenching," Zepnick said today in response to the shooting. "It certainly makes you wonder about how just how far this epidemic of gun violence goes, where innocent people's lives are put at risk in ordinary day-to-day situations. it makes me sick to my stomach."
On Sundays, Sikh temples, called gurudwaras, serve a community meal at which anyone is welcome as part of their community service. The meal, known as a langar, follows the morning services.
The Sikh religion originated in the Punjab region of India.
"Every single member of my family was inside that church," Simran Kaleka said. "No matter who is shot and killed in there, it's going to affect all of us out here because a lot of people are related here. And it's just, for me, my life flashed before my eyes because it's my whole family."
Federal agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau were sent to the scene of the shooting, two government officials told ABC News.
President Obama was told about the shooting around 1 p.m. today and released a statement this afternoon.
"At this difficult time, the people of Oak Creek must know that the American people have them in our thoughts and prayers, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded," Obama said. "My administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting and moving forward with an investigation.
"As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family," he added.
ABC News' Jack Date contributed to this report.