Reward in Sikh killings case in Elk Grove grows to $57,000

   Reward in Sikh killings case in Elk Grove grows to $57,000

The Sikh community, volunteers and police authorities renewed their push on Sunday to identify assailants responsible for the fatal shootings of two Sikh men strolling in their Elk Grove neighborhood in March.  With the reward standing at $57,000, members of the groups said the effort called for a “day of action” to spread the word that the pursuit of the perpetrators will go on.

Published: Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 – 9:19 am

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Elk Grove police in August sought another $50,000 in the form of a “governor’s reward,” telling Gov. Jerry Brown then that the increased reward could give someone who knows about the case the incentive to step forward.

Such a reward is possible under California Penal Code Section 1547, which gives the governor the authority to make the offer.

The Sikh community along with a coalition of community organizations raised a combined $42,000 for information leading to the arrest of people responsible for the shootings, which are being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Up to $15,000 more is available from Sacramento County’s multi-agency Crime Alert program, said Randy Goodwin of the Sacramento County Probation Department and a representative of the county’s Crime Alert Program.

“Fifty-seven thousand dollars is a significant reward,” said Elk Grove Police Capt. Bryan Noblett as supporters gathered Sunday morning to tackle a new front: the circulation of fliers to businesses within two miles of the shooting site announcing the reward.

“We, of course, wish it didn’t require a large reward like that to develop information,” he said. But he added that the department officials are “hopeful” that the money will entice someone with knowledge to step forward.

The still-unsolved shootings on March 4 led to the deaths of Surinder Singh, 65, and Gurmej Atwal, 78. Singh was killed instantly. Atwal spent six weeks in a hospital before he succumbed.

The group of volunteers, including two Elk Grove City Council members, representatives of the Sikh American community and other volunteers, met in a Park and Ride lot just a few hundred feet from where the slayings occurred on East Stockton Boulevard near Geneva Pointe Drive.

“I think the whole community is going to raise the level of awareness of this crime to see if we can shine a light on these cockroaches,” Elk Grove Mayor Steve Detrick said as supporters gathered. “Maybe somebody didn’t see it. But somebody else could get cocky and talk about it.”

Elk Grove City Councilwoman Sophia Scherman echoed that thought.

“Somewhere out there is someone who will slip and say something,” she said. “The increased reward is going to open many, many doors.”

Volunteers left the area and visited nearby businesses asking to post the bulletins.

It wasn’t seamless. At the nearby Target, a store official told volunteers Navjit Kaur and Gagandeep Mann that the store could not participate.

But a worker at Metropolis Comix near Bruceville Road in Sacramento did post a bulletin in the window. So did the Beauty Chateau salon and spa.

Maggie Solorzano at the spa said she happened to drive by the shooting site to and from school on March 4 and saw the police vehicles, but she learned only later what had happened.

“I hope they catch who did it,” she said. “To take two people away from their families … it’s a shame.”

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