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August 6th, 2012
09:17 PM ET

Mother and son mourn heroic Sikh victim

Editor's note: To help families of the victims, go to wearesikhs.com or visit the Tri City National Bank in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Their number is (414) 761-1610.

Satwant Singh Kaleka will be remembered by his son as a man who “lived his life with the principles he knew and he was taught at a young age,” and as a patriot who had “lived the American dream.” In this interview with the Kaleka family, Anderson sits down with the temple president’s wife, Satpal, and his son, Amardeep.

Arriving as an immigrant to the U.S. in 1982 with no more than a couple hundred dollars in his pocket, Amardeep recalls how his father would work 18-hour days at a gas station in order to provide for his family. He believes his father set an excellent example for others. “If you do the hard work, if you live by truth and honesty…it’s going to lead to a good life. He has beautiful children, he has beautiful grandchildren, he has a great wife that has stood by him through thick and thin. His community loves him. Hundreds of people will show up at his funeral.”

Satpal survived the attack that killed her husband. She shares an intimate retelling of the frightening incident, and describes helping fellow members of the temple escape to safety in the pantry.

Amardeep leaves viewers with a sobering message: “I hope American society lets go of its criminal violence…and its amazingly repugnant descent as a human civilization into this archaic world. I hope that we can traverse and come up, and become more civilized.”

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Amy Nagra

    CNN is doing such a great job in reporting this story. I am a sikh myself and my heart goes out to the families that lost their loved ones. Amardeep has done such a great job in reporting the story while still grieving his dad's death. The two brothers that lost their mom is just such a sad sad story.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  2. taxedmore

    Mr. Kaleka, thank you. RIP

    August 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  3. Ashish

    As kids we are taught these basic principles that Amardeep spoke about, treat one another with respect, stand up for the oppressed and those less fortunate and work hard for your dreams. As we get older we get caught up in the world and lose much of that, we get bitter, we get angry and we lose hope. But Amardeeps father did not, it appears that he lived and died by these basic principles. As angry as we want to be at the shooter, I appreciate CNN focusing on the victims and the message that was Satwant Kalekas way of life.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  4. Megan n

    I truly hope his wishes come true. Our nation needs to turn itself around and be more peaceful, less ignorant and destructive.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  5. Susan Rosen

    Your interview with Amardeep Kaleka was one of the best I have ever seen. What a remarkable family. I wish that everyone in the United States could see this interview. It will bring understanding and hope to the country.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Ryan

      Absolutely! Thanks CNN for great coverage...please show us more! We need to learn more about each other and in turn were enriched ourselves!

      August 8, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  6. rhondajo3

    Satwant Singh Kaleka is truly a hero! The Sikhs believe in freedom of religion, community service and inclusiveness, and have no problem assimilating when they come to this country. They are a wonderful group of people! Totally the opposite of, well yes, you know!

    August 7, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  7. rhondajo3

    Satwant Singh Kaleka was truly a hero! This tragedy makes me very sad, and to have it happen so soon after Colorado is heart breaking! The Sikhs believe in freedom of religion, community service and inclusiveness. They are a wonderful group of people who have no problem assimilating when they get to this country. They are the complete opposite of Islam!

    August 7, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  8. Gurdev Singh Teer

    I salute CNN for covering the tragedy in detail for two days in a row. CNN has helped tremendeously to educate the Americans about Sikhism and the sikhs. yes.the sikhs have always fought alongside Americans . our 125,000 elders gave their lives to help America defeat and kill Hitler and nazism. Thank you for broadcasting that fact.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  9. Shastina Free

    MIND CONTROL :: In this time, we have events like this tragic one, which are a product of government mind control (frequencies that drive unbalanced people nuts) and . . . sadly, also by the tenacious, programming to hold onto cultural/religious structures, as IF one's Life depended on it – rather than on the Great Spirit behind all cultures/religions. * (This comes out of the original "survival issues" of the tribes, which was part of why they were created in an ancient time.) * * * This kind of tragedy is also an expression of what "logic" does when it is used without the other half of the mind/heart, the intuition – which guides the, "Knower as One with the Known". * * * Years ago, James Hillman (one of the leading Jungian's) gave a wonderful presentation (which I attended as part of my continued exploration, following my Holistic Master's degree). In Hillman's presentation, entitled, "Animals, Their Souls & Ours" – He gave a grand treatise – on how it is possible that one might use logic, alone, to justify virtually ANYTHING!!! . . . He gave a stupendous example, and sadly, our world is full of these examples, as in this tragedy! * * * IT WOULD BE SO AMAZING – IF the person who was so moved (and others who are like-minded) in whatever way, to shoot all of these people (Who are Children of Grace AS The Very Self-expression of the Great Spirit – & – Who were there for GOOD) – IF he were to find out about how our own government created 911, in order to enslave "The People of the USA" . . . rather than the Muslims, he misunderstood, as the Sikhs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  10. bhagat singh

    Atrocities such as this should be dealt with as a terrorist attack. The "hammerskin nation" to whom this individual identifies with should be classified as a terrorist organization. They should be persecuted under the full weight of the law to punish this crime and insure that this never happens again. Their members are very visible on internet forums and their views set a motive and precedent which should provide enough impetus for the gov't to clean up their back yard. Groups such as this should be dismantled if we really want to advance our society towards a peaceful existence.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  11. Kamal

    II am kind of surprised that there is o mention what so ever about the Mosque that was burned to ground at Joplin Missouri early this morning. This is definitely linked to the Shooting at the Seikh Temple massacre. Both are directed to "different" group of people" "different" religion. God knows who torched that mosque. May be the same person, or group that tried to do that on the 4th of July -whose picture on record- some how the police "could not find him", I wonder how in this day and age, police cant find that person, when they "easily" find others if it was not Muslims or particular group was attacked.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  12. Raman Chopra - Montreal

    Anderson: I just heard your comment about letting the families grieve. I want to let you know that Sikhs do not grieve over these acts of herosim by Citizens and police Officers. We celebrate Martyrdom. It is part of our Culture,. It is part of our Religion. It 95% of what we are. We just do not grieve martyrdom-We celebrate them.
    There is hurt and pain for us. But it is not about us. It is about those who gave the ultimate price. We celebrate all this and take pride in these acts of herosim, bravery and valour. True Americans-All of us.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  13. Anna Jezari

    My heart and prayers go out to the Sikh community. I pledge to work for peace and understanding in our community.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm |