FRESNO, California, USA—An important meeting was called at Gurdwara Nanaksar (Cherry Rd) in Fresno, California yesterday in wake of the attack on 82-year-old Bhai Piara Singh. The meeting was attended by a number of community leaders, along with officials from the District Attorney’s Office and Fresno Police Department.
Jerry Dyer, Fresno Chief of Police, addressed the attendees and shared details of the incident. He stated that Gilbert Garcia, a man of Hispanic origin, was arrested soon after he attacked Piara Singh. Garcia was hiding nearby when police reached the spot and arrested him.
Garcia has been charged with attempted murder and with brutally beating an elderly person. He also faces a prior charge of weapon violence.
When asked about the possibility of additional attackers in this incident, Dyer stated that investigations so far point towards Garcia carrying out the attack alone.
Mark Cullers, Chief of the Fresno Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, stated that this case will be treated as a hate crime. He assured the community that the case will not be taken lightly and budget cuts will not hinder its progress.
Cullers encouraged the Sikh community to start education programs and use social media networks to raise awareness of Sikhs in America.
Other speakers included Anand Kumar Jha (Indian Consulate from San Francisco), Iqbal Grewal and Paul Sihota, nephew of Bhai Piara Singh. Local officials also addressed questions by the Sikh community and partook in langar.
Note: President of the Gurdwara, S. Gurdev Singh Muhar has told us that Bhai Piara Singh is likely to be discharged tonight from the hospital. Sikh24 will continue providing updates as they become available.