COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Gov. Nikki Haley took to her Facebook page to respond to the fatal shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that killed six on Sunday.
"It's very sad to see something like this happen to a peaceful place of worship," Haley said. "Our prayers and condolences go out to the families of the innocent victims and the family of the heroic officer in this senseless tragedy."
Haley's family is Sikh and operates a temple of their own in Lexington County. Dr. Ajit Randhawa, Haley's father, resides over the temple.
"This is senseless, and of course this shows this person was not at all familiar with what this place is and what goes on," Randhawa said.
Randhawa wants more dialogue and more investigation. He remembers the hate and xenophobia that followed 9/11 and the attitude that a turban and beard meant terrorist.
"The sad part is, this is after 11 years. And in that much time, the distinction is still not clear to people," Randhawa said.
With their holy city in India, Randhawa says Sikhs live their lives on three main principles: to focus on the word of God, to earn an ethical living with ones own hard work, and to share your earnings with people in need. Randhawa says the last principal is paramount -- that's why you'll find a free meal after every Sikh service.
On Sunday, that meal was being prepared when the shooting started.
"If he had only known where he was going, he would've gotten a free meal at lunch time. Because that's a tradition. His thoughts may have changed after that," Randhawa said.