(OAK CREEK, Wis.) — Gov. Scott Walker told a memorial service today for six Sikh men gunned down by a white supremacist that the Sikh community has “shown us that the best way to respond is with love.”
The memorial service began five days after the shocking attack on the Sikh temple and long lines of Sikhs and other mourners lined up for the service.
“Today we mourn with you, we pray with you and we support you,” Walker told the mourners packed into the Oak Creek High School gymnasium.
He praised the Sikh community’s response to the massacre.
“This week our friends and neighbors in the Sikh community have shown us that the best way to respond is with love,” the governor said.
Walker was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder at the memorial service and this afternoon the Sikh temple will open for prayer as the Sikhs take turns reading over a thousand pages of their holy book until Sunday morning. Three funerals will be held today and three more on Saturday.
It was last Sunday when white supremacist Wade Michael Page went on a shooting rampage that killed six and wounded others. Page then took his own life after being shot by an officer.
The people wounded in the attack, including the police officer who was shot eight or nine times, are progressing in their recoveries. According to the hospital where they are recuperating, Lt. Brian Murphy is now in satisfactory condition. Punjab Singh, 65, is still in critical condition, requiring mechanical support to breathe, after suffering a gunshot wound to the face. The hospital said Singh may also have subsequently suffered a stroke. Santokh Singh, 50, is in serious condition after he had surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest.
Long lines formed this morning to enter school gymnasium, and inside the packed gym images of the victim were shown on a screen. Chanting music was played over loudspeakers and all of the men, Sikhs and non-Sikhs, wore the distinctive turbans called patkas.
Thousands of attendees are expected at today’s service, taking place on a chilly, rainy day in this suburb south of Milwaukee.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Darran Simon and Chandrika Narayan, CNN