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Spokane Sikhs say they still feel safe in the wake of hate crime shooting of Sikh man in Kent

UPDATED: MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2017, 10:24 P.M.

FILE – Gov. Jay Inslee visits with Sangh Virk, right, and other members Spokane's Sikh Temple on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at the Sikh Temple of Spokane in Spokane Valley, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE – Gov. Jay Inslee visits with Sangh Virk, right, and other members Spokane's Sikh Temple on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at the Sikh Temple of Spokane in Spokane Valley, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The congregation at the Sikh Temple of Spokane plans to send a small group to visit with the Sikh community in Kent, in a show of support following the shooting of a Sikh man there on Friday.

Gurjeet Singh Aujla, who is the priest of the temple which is located in Spokane Valley, said plans are being made for the trip.

It was just about a year ago that the Sikh Temple of Spokane was vandalized by Jefferey C. Pittman who mistakenly thought the temple was a mosque and affiliated with the Islamic State terror organization.

Pittman was naked when he was arrested inside the temple holding a ceremonial sword. Pittman, who later admitted to taking meth, did about $30,000 worth of damage to the temple including tearing pages from the temple’s Sikh holy book.

Aujla said the temple has had no vandalism problems since then.

About 300 Sikhs live in Spokane.

The FBI is aiding in the investigation of the shooting in Kent. The Sikh, who was shot in the arm, said he got into an argument with a white man after he told him to return to his homeland.

“We feel very safe in Spokane,” Aujla said. “Our neighbors are very good to us.”



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