Community mourns shooting in Ohio township | News Coverage from USA

Community mourns shooting in Ohio township

WEST CHESTER, Ohio — By the time Jasminder Singh finally sat down on the basement floor, most people had left. The worshippers and the news crews. 

After four people from the same family had been shot and killed a mile away, the message at the Monday prayer service was about trusting God. Singh looked down the white wall he sat against and pointed.

That’s where he normally sits. And that’s where the 46-year-old sat on Sunday morning with Hakikat Singh Panag, one of the first friends he made when he moved from Kentucky to West Chester Township 11 years ago.

Most Sundays, before the Sikh place of worship fills with up to 700 people, Singh would sit with Panag in the basement and drink tea. On this Sunday, they talked about work.

“He seemed happy,” said Singh.

Singh is the executive committee president of the Guru Nanak Society of Greater Cincinnati.  Like he usually does, Singh arrived early that day because he had work to do.

His workday would end with him answering questions about his dead friend. Why, he was asked, did he think someone would kill Panag, his wife, daughter and sister-in-law?

That Sunday night, a man believed to be Panag’s son-in-law returned to his West Chester Township home and found much of his family on the floor bleeding to death.

The man called 911, yelled for help and banged on his neighbor’s door at the Lakefront at West Chester apartment complex.

West Chester Police Chief Joel Herzog confirmed the caller was related to the victims and also lived at the residence. He said the man has spoken to investigators and is not in custody. Police did not confirm the victims’ identities in a news conference Monday morning.

Singh identified the other victims as Panag’s wife, Paramjit Kaur, his adult daughter, Shalinder Kaur, and his sister-in-law, Amarjit Kaur. Panag had three grandchildren who lived at the apartment, but they were not home at the time, Singh said.

Herzog said it was too early to discuss a motive and that police are still searching for a suspect.

It was almost 9 p.m. Monday. The media had arrived more than three hours ago for the prayer service.

But journalists first started showing up Monday morning after reports about where the victims of Ohio’s first mass shooting of 2019 worshipped.

Singh says he spoke to at least 20 different reporters in one day, but he couldn’t understand why. Cincinnati only has four local television news stations.

Still, he invited them all inside for prayer service and made sure when cameras started rolling there was enough room left for worshippers to walk downstairs to get food.

At the service, there was singing and praying and music. Afterward, there was talk about shock and sadness. 

Singh said if Panag was a good person, then his wife and his daughter were even better. But he didn’t know how to get that message across.

And he had run out of things to say. 

Because he had questions, too. He wanted to know what happened, too. But he was the person fielding questions now. 

 

 

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