OAK CREEK, Wis. — Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order Wednesday ordering the flags of the United States and the state of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting.
A white supremacist gunman opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek 10 years ago on Aug. 5. 2012. Six people were innocently killed and four others were injured. In 2020, a seventh victim passed away due to injuries. The gunman was shot at the scene by police.
“Ten years ago this Friday, the Sikh sangat and our entire state witnessed one of the most violent and horrific acts of hate we’d seen when a white supremacist murdered six and injured several others at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek,” said Gov. Evers. “This anniversary represents a painful day for our state and so many Wisconsinites—especially for the now seven people whose friends and families mourn their passing, the many others still grappling with their injuries and trauma every day, and the many worshippers, loved ones, and neighbors who either witnessed the violence themselves or who’ve helped provide support, comfort, and healing to those who did.”
The mass shooting happened as congregation members were preparing for Sunday school classes and services while cooking a free community meal for visitors.
“We are grateful to Governor Evers for joining our community in recognizing this important anniversary,” said the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. “Together, we will continue to persevere in the Sikh spirit of chardi kala—relentless optimism in the face of struggle—as we push for a society free from fear or hate.”
According to a news release from Gov. Evers, efforts and actions from first responders and worshipers at the gurdwara were critical to helping prevent additional deaths. This includes Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who was shot 15 times by the gunman, and Officer Savan “Sam” Lenda.
“The Oak Creek shooting remains a reminder of the work that still must be done to protect all communities in the United States against the rising threat of targeted, hate-fueled violence. Kathy and I join the people of Wisconsin in honoring the people whose lives were taken, the extraordinary efforts of those who prevented more loss of life, and each person forever changed and affected by this tragedy. We pray for their optimism, for their strength, and for them to find peace.”
This Friday, the Sikh community will hold a four-day anniversary to honor the lives lost. All are welcome to attend Friday's vigil which will take place outside of the Gurdwara at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. On Saturday at 11 a.m., they will host a celebration of life.