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USA California Governor Considering Reward In Elk Grove Shooting


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
by Avneet kaur

Sikhs in Elk Grove, California, are still awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s decision on posting a reward for information leading to an arrest in connection with the shooting deaths of two elderly Sikh men on March 4.

Seven months have passed since Surinder Singh, 67, and Gurmej Singh Atwal, 78, were gunned down while strolling together through their neighborhood. Surinder Singh was pronounced dead at the scene, and Gurmej Singh died more than a month later at a hospital.

Despite efforts from the community and law enforcement, the perpetrators have not been found.

The Elk Grove Police Department submitted a request on August 22 asking Governor Brown to institute a reward of $50,000 in the hopes of providing a greater incentive to anyone who may have any information, said Christopher Trim, spokesman. The department has not yet heard back from the governor’s office.

“We have received the request from the Elk Grove PD, and our office is considering it,” said Evan Westrup, spokesman for the governor, by email. “If there are any updates, I will definitely let you know.”

Police had earlier released a photograph of a tan or light brown 1999 to 2003 Ford F150 pickup truck, which witnesses saw driving in the area after the shooting. But little hard evidence has surfaced to take the case forward.

“A number of leads have come into the police department but none which would identify the criminals,” said Amar Shergill, lawyer for the families of the deceased. “We are hoping the governor will step in and increase the reward to bring more attention to the case.”

This governor’s reward would supplement the $57,000 raised by the Sikh and local communities. Crime Alert Sacramento, a non-profit organization that encourages citizens to volunteer vital information to help law enforcement agencies fight crime, provided $15,000 of the total.

With little progress on the case, volunteers took to the streets on Oct. 16 to distribute fliers and post reward bulletins on what they called, a “Day of Action.”

“Unfortunately, we live in a remote area where there is not a lot of traffic, so finding an eyewitness will be difficult,” said Gurmej Singh’s son, Kamaljit Singh Atwal. But he is satisfied with the work that had been done so far.

“They (Shergill and police department) are doing their best,” he said. “When there is no witness it becomes a cold case, but Shergill wanted to keep the case alive.”

Although he and his family are “doing okay,” Kamaljit Singh said he would like to see the shooter apprehended. His kids are still getting used to life without their grandfather, who used to live with them.

“It was so shocking,” said Gurmej Singh’s granddaughter, twelve-year-old Manpreet Kaur. “I did not realize what had happened until I saw him in the hospital the first time. Now at home, it feels more empty.”

Navjeet Kaur, 17, another granddaughter, remembered how he had struggled to achieve the American dream, and wanted a better life for his children and grandchildren.

“We are in it for the long haul, and are hoping to soon bring the families some peace,” Trim added.




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