Tragedy: Children At Sikh Temple Birthday Party Thought Mass Shooting Was ‘Fireworks’

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For the second time in less than a month, a mass shooting has occurred in Midwestern America. Just weeks after James Holmes killed 12 and injured 58 at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, tragedy struck a Wisconsin Sikh temple. In an assault that occurred Sunday morning around 10:30am, police believe that a lone gunman killed six people and injured at least three more before being fatally shot by a police officer.

The suspect is a Caucasian male in his mid-40s. It was originally reported by some that he had a prominent “9/11 remembrance” tattoo on one of his arms, though police have only confirmed that he has multiple tattoos. He used a 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol and was said to be carrying multiple rounds of ammunition when he attacked the Oak Creek temple.

When the attack started, a child’s birthday party was being held in the basement of the temple. In a heart-wrenching display of innocence, the young children first believed that they were hearing fireworks. Once they realized it was gunshots firing above them, the children went to warn the adults of the dangerous situation. The bravery of those young kids is both astonishing and commendable. There are many grown adults who would’ve hid in closets instead of venturing out to warn the parents.

Obviously, the children weren’t the only ones acting bravely. One first responder was shot multiple times by the suspect while trying to help another victim. The amazing police officer is expected to recover after hours of surgery.

The names, or even ages or sex, of the victims have not yet been released, but that doesn’t stop our thoughts and prayers from going to all of those in the Oak Creek community, especially the members of the Sikh temple who lost friends and family. President Obama has already released a statement of condolences for the victims of the shooting, saying:

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the shooting that tragically took so many lives in Wisconsin. At this difficult time, the people of Oak Creek must know that the American people have them in our thoughts and prayers, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded. My administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting and moving forward with an investigation. As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family.”

For those of you out there who would like to show your support for the Sikh community in Wisconsin, as well as for the first responders who bravely ended this man’s killing spree, a trust has already been set up at indiegogo.

With this shooting coming so quickly on the heels of the Colorado massacre, it is impossible not to wonder whether the gun control debate will arise anew in the political discourse. The idea of two mass shootings, and all those victims, is shocking to everyone.

But no matter where we stand on the political spectrum, we will hopefully all come together to support and grieve with the Sikh community in Wisconsin, and across the country. These senseless tragedies are the time for us to all rise up as one against violence of all kinds and care for one another as a joined citizenry. And it is a time for us to learn from those little ones who were just trying to celebrate a birthday party. It’s time for us all to be brave and help out each other no matter how scary it is.

(Photo: Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock)