The West Chester Twp. trustees invited their Sikh community to open their meeting Tuesday evening with a prayer to honor four members who were killed last week.
The township has members of the faith community open all trustee meetings, and Trustee Board President Mark Welch said it was appropriate to have a member of the temple say the prayer Tuesday.
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“Together we mourn the unimaginable deaths of our neighbors,” Welch said, “and extend our collective support to their family and all of our Sikh community.”
Four members of a Sikh family were found shot to death in an apartment on Wyndtree Drive on April 28. Amrick Singh, a priest from Gurudwara Sahib of Greater Cincinnati, where the family worshiped, led the prayer, first in his native language and then translated.
“We pray for the peace of the souls whose lives were cut short before (their) time,” he said as everyone in the room stood with heads bowed. “We pray for them to reach their heavenly destination, for them to rest in peace and for them to meet the lord, who will take care of them.”
Police are still searching for those responsible. Singh also prayed for justice and asked God to give the men and women searching for the killer or killers “the strength and focus” as they “work hard to solve the crime.” And he asked that the entire West Chester community be “soothed.”
“We pray for the Sikh community that are in West Chester for their fears to be soothed, for their hearts who are in pain to be soothed,” he said. “We pray for the fellow brothers and sisters, Sikh and non-Sikhs, we pray for their safety, we pray for their love and we pray for their souls, in God’s name.”
Then he and the small group of men with him quietly left the meeting.
The victims were identified as: Hakiakat Singh Pannag, 59, his wife, Parmjit Kaur, 62, their daughter, Shalinderjit Kaur, 39 and Parmjit Kaur’s sister, Amarjit Kaur, 58.
“My whole heart of prayer goes out to the children of the family, two daughters 11 and 9 years old and a son 5-years-old,” said Trustee Ann Becker. “Knowing that these young children will grow up without a mother, grandparents, and aunt makes it even more painful.”
She also thanked the first responders, police and community members who are trying to solve the case and said they are “committed to finding justice for this horrible crime.”