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St. Peters Sikhs Express Sadness Over Deadly Wisconsin Temple Shooting

Seven people are dead after a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin Sunday.

Amit Nanda needed to pray. 

Nanda, a member of the  in unincorporated St. Charles County just outside of , received a news alert from CNN on his phone.

He found out that a shooting  left seven people dead, including the suspected gunman. Police reportedly shot and killed the gunman, but have no motive yet for the attack. A police officer was also shot several times, but is expected to live. 

Along with father Ardaman Nanda, a cardiologist in the area, the Nandas decided they needed to be with fellow Sikhs and they needed to pray. 

"We found out, we went home and watched CNN and found out what happened," Amit said. "We made our effort to come out here to be with them and pray for our people in Wisconsin. That just kind of speaks to the community we belong to. We came out here to pray for them, as well as all the others that are still here."

The Nandas both expressed sadness that someone would enter a Sikh temple and do harm. 

"As a religion, we're really a tight group of people," Amit said. "It was really sad to hear that something like this happened at a place where we worship—a place that we come to. ... I always come here—it's something I look forward to every Sunday, and unfortunately, something like that happened.

Both Amit and Ardaman are active with the Sikh community. They described the community as tight-knit and welcoming. 

"It's pretty big (community) — not as big as Wisconsin," Amit said. "I'd say about every weekend, 200 to 250 people show up."

On instinct, the Nandas said they worried about a possible copycat attack here in St. Louis. Those fears quickly went away. As they were approaching the Gurdwara, the father and son saw a St. Charles County Sheriff's car patrolling the area.

"Anything can happen anywhere, so you can't be scared of everything," Amit said.

Both father and son expressed hope that, while Sunday's event in Wisconsin are tragic, the moment can become a positive for the Sikh community.

"I just think, as a young Sikh, I just hope that people can learn from this experience and give more credit to different religions, different people and be more open-minded," Amit said. "The world is changing and people just have deal with it—be tolerant. Mistakes happen, it was unfortunate what happened, but you just have to build off of it and hopefully have a positive effect."

Ardaman said that, so early after the incident, no plans were finalized to do anything for the Sikh's in Wisconsin, but he expected the management of the Gurdwara would do something in the near future.

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