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USA Sikh Community Mourns Loss Of Promising Young Man


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
He was the pride of the local Sikh community and had hopes of being a deputy sheriff.

Now, detectives are trying to piece together why 23-year-old Satwant Rai was gunned down in front of a friend's home Monday night.

"He had a very good heart, but he was very brave, so he was not afraid to fight."

Friends say Rai was courageous, almost to a fault.

"When you talk to him he's a simple guy," said Manjit Singh, a family friend. "But when it comes to fighting with somebody, he just steps into that and says hey guys please, don't do that."

Rai was a recent graduate of the Sheriff's Academy who had hopes of becoming a deputy.

He was shot to death as he rushed to the defense of a friend who lived a block away and was being threatened by a group of men.

Rai's father is devastated. "I don't want to see another day. I am dead already," said Swarn Singh.

Rai pulled in so quickly he left a skid mark in the driveway. He then got out of his car and ran up to confront what one eyewitness said, was four people pounding on the front door.

Friends believe Rai's killer is among a group of young Sikh men who made death threats against Rai and another man in October. Friends say that same group shot a third man in the foot last month.

"They're all, that group, the person who shot the first time, and the person that shot this time, they're all drug addicts. And it's just, they're all wannabes, maybe trying to start up a gang or something," said a friend.

The man who called Rai for help Monday said he was holed up in the home with his sisters and a baby.

Rai leaves behind a brother and a mom who was too broken up to visit with friends and family who gathered at the family's home on Wednesday. "We're here basically every day, ever since this thing happened. That's all we can do is just support them," said a friend.

But, Rai's father is taking comfort his son died trying to save someone else. "Two person saved, three person saved, this is okay," he said. "My son go help, you know? My son have a heart. He die, it's okay, but he help over there."

Detectives would not say if the three incidents were connected. They have not named any suspects or made any arrests. If you have any information, you can remain anonymous by calling the Secret Witness hotline at 322-4040.