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Sikh Temple Shooting Victim Died After Rushing Gunman

Temple president's final act was one of heroism. Other victims remembered as loving, with kind words before services, and dedicated to their spiritual community.

Satwant Singh Kaleka’s final action at the was one of heroism.

When Wade Michael Page, the suspected gunman in Sunday’s tragic shooting, opened fire, the 65-year-old temple president rushed to stop him — possibly preventing more deaths.

“He was trying his best to give time for people to get to security,” said his son, Amardeep Kaleka, during a news conference at the Salvation Army in Oak Creek Monday.

Satwant Kaleka was one of six Sikhs killed .

Also killed on Sunday were: Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Prakash Singh, 39; Paramjit Kaur, 41; and Suveg Singh, 84. Three others were critically injured in the attack, including

But Satwant Kaleka was no stranger to violence. The family fled northern India after martial law was declared against the Sikhs, according to his son.

It was in America that Satwant Kaleka was hit over the head while taking out the trash one evening at the gas station where he worked.

“He worked his behind off, 18 hours a day, in some of the worst neighborhoods you have ever seen,” said Amardeep Kaleka.

Becoming a successful businessman, Satwant Kaleka pushed for the American dream. When the family bought their first house, Satwant Kaleka installed “the largest American flag” in the front yard to demonstrate that they were now Americans.

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Shauna Singh Baldwin, a Milwaukee woman who is part of the Sikh community, served as a translator for some of the older members of the temple after Sunday's shooting. 

She told Patch that Satwant Kaleka invested his own money in the temple, helping to bring it to Oak Creek in 2007.

"Kaleka was a role model in the community," Baldwin said. "He never gave up, and he was a very quiet worker."

Suveg Singh gave blessings before services

Suveg Singh came early to temple services, said Inderjeet Singh, secretary at the temple. He would sit there and speak with others. 

"He always give me a blessing: 'God bless you, be happy and prosperous.' I am going to miss him just so much," said Inderjeet Singh, who is not related to Suveg Singh.

The Journal Sentinel spoke to Suveg Singh's family members, and reported that his daughter-in-law, Kulwant Kaur had taken him to temple Sunday morning. She hid in the kitchen pantry during the attack, and as reported on jsonline.com,saw her father-in-law on the floor, bleeding, as she left the temple.

"He loved to come to the temple and talk to people. He speaks only Punjab. He's a nice father," Khattra's son, Baljander Singh Khattra, told the Journal Sentinel.

Priest Prakash Singh was servant-leader

Prakash Singh, 39, one of the temple priests, came here from India nine years ago. His wife and three children remained behind. After years of separating, they finally arrived just over a month ago. 

"He was very happy," said Inderjeet Singh. "He prayed and he said 'Thank God my family is here, my kids are here. God listened to me. After nine years, everything is OK, I am so glad my family is here.'"

Inderjeet Singh is not related to Prakash Singh, who he described as a "servant-leader," saying the priest would work in the kitchen, bring dinner plates to elderly congregation members and who would make a cup of tea for temple meetings. 

"He was a very religious guy, a very honest person," said Inderjeet Singh. "He was always focused to dedicate every day (to) his job."

The Journal Sentinel reported that he was preparing to move from the temple into an apartment with his family. 

Ranjit Singh was musician and priest

Kulwant Singh was at the Brookfield Sikh temple on Monday morning. He told Patch that Ranjit Singh was a priest who played the drums at the in Oak Creek every Sunday and worked Sunday nights at a Shell gas station at 35th and Vliet streets in Milwaukee. Kulwant Singh lives next to the Brookfield temple on Calhoun Road, and said he formerly worked with Ranjit Singh.

"He was a nice guy. I feel very sorry for him and his family," Kulwant Singh said. "He died for no reason."

Ranjit Singh is married with children, Kulwant Singh said, but moved to the United States from India about 15 years ago, leaving his family behind with plans for them to someday join him in Wisconsin.

Paramjit Kaur was a mother

Baldwin, the translator who helped the congregation speak with police on Sunday, also told Patch that she spoke to a man, whose name she didn’t know, whose wife, Paramjit, was shot to death.

“I knew they had children and I asked them where they were,” Baldwin said. “He told me they were at home.”

Patch editors Heather Asiyanbi, Lisa Sink and Denise Lockwood contributed to this report.

jama August 06, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Here is Wade and the band photos. http://www.myspace.com/endapathyband/photos/50572779#%7B%22ImageId%22%3A48750181%7D
gato pelon August 06, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Wade was a Redneck raciest white trash bigot gun nut! Thank you NRA. NRA is nothing but pimps for arms manufactures. NRA is more TRASH then Wade the nut you aloud to own a gun.
Craig August 06, 2012 at 03:20 PM
When this was breaking news, before we knew anything about the shooter- I said to my wife, " Please let this be someone from the church, and not a hate crime done by a damn fool." It may seem like a foolish statement, but it is indicative of our society as a whole. I am ashamed at what we have become. As the most intelligent species on Earth, we surely do not act that way. Please be aware there are far more white middle aged men who own firearms who would never do this type of act, let alone have such a twisted bigotry.
Randy1949 August 06, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I'm at a loss for words, other than to say that the victims of this deplorable crime are in my thoughts.
oak creek resident August 06, 2012 at 03:24 PM
How is the NRA responsible, gato? You sound like just as much of a raving lunatic as the shooter. Good way to group yourself with bigoted trash. Aloud???
Heather Asiyanbi (Editor) August 06, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Can we focus on praying for peace and healing for the victims' families and the swift and complete recovery for the injured? This shouldn't be about politics.
Denise Konkol (Editor) August 06, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Agreed - folks need your prayers and support - not your political arguments. No one is consoled by a group of people who are more concerned about making their political points. It's not about you right now. Really.
Grant Fox August 06, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I would just like to say that I am ashamed of my fellow man right now. I agree with Craig on this one we claim to be the highest on the food chain but homosapien-sapiens do some dumb stuff. We are a country that is supposed to pride ourselves on freedom of religion and we cannot even uphold that basic principal (as hard as our government tries). I just wish that these people had 911tm.com so they could have been in contact with public safety the whole time giving a play by play of what was going on with out becoming a target for the shooter. I would like to send my best regards To the hero's in this situation the police officers (i do not know their names) for taking down the gunman, Satwant Kaleka and Parkash Singh For protecting their rights as people, protecting their family's and congregation. I would like to say a special thank You to Parkash Singh. I appreciate that you have brought your family here from India to show them what a great place america is and I can see how hard that belief will be for his children to realize due to current circumstances. I just hope that there is much help in rebuilding what was lost when Wade Michael Page decided to go on this rampage.
Craig August 06, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Agreed- Can we remind people to fly their Flag at half staff? I just lowered mine after reading it was ordered by the Governor. It will serve as a small gesture of support for those Sikh's who pass by.
James R Hoffa August 06, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Hoffa's thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrible and needless tragedy and their families.
a quiet conservative August 06, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I concur Mr. Hoffa
a quiet conservative August 06, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Gato, If you can't respect this issue and the impact on the family and community do something for the community. Show up to the prayer service and bow your head. Thanks AQC
a quiet conservative August 06, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Thanks Heather & Denise!
Lyle Ruble August 06, 2012 at 09:13 PM
With the greatest condolences to those who lost loved ones and may those fallen rest in peace. We all grieve as we attempt to heal this profound wound to our collective souls.
ann kerkman August 08, 2012 at 05:59 AM
i dont really thinks anyone really cares about his bands rally
ann kerkman August 08, 2012 at 06:01 AM
i agree denise

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