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August 07, 2012 | 05:42 PMFONTANA — Fontana Mart owner Neal Gill calls Sunday's shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek "terrible, sick and very scary."
More scary for him and his family than most village residents, since they would have been there, if not for a family obligation that kept them away that morning.
"We were on the way, driving there," he said. "At 10:30, a friend from the temple called me. He asked where I was, and I told him I was on my way. He told me not to come, 'there's a shooter inside,' and he said that his kids were inside, too."
Six people were killed Sunday morning by a gunman who entered the temple and began shooting. The gunman was shot and killed by police responding to the incident.
Investigations are ongoing to determine the reasoning behind the shooting.
Gill's friend had been at the temple, helping to prepare the food for the shared meal after the service.
"They needed some milk," Gill said. "He told his kids to stay there while he went to the store to pick it up."
After hearing about the shooting first hand that morning, Gill tried to find information on the news.
"There wasn't anything," he said. "So, then. . . we went to Oak Creek. The whole block was cut off by police, but we stayed there until everyone was cleared to go."
Though he doesn't wear the traditional turban of the Sikh faith, he celebrates at the temple regularly.
"There are so many shootings," Gill said. "These goofy people are all over. They're sick, but we can't give up. Never. We'll go back. We'll go there, and we'll take our kids with."
Gill has a daughter, 20, and a son, 16.
"I don't wear the turban because there are too many questions from customers," he said. "I think that people see the turban and think that we are Muslims. We are not Muslims. The shooter probably didn't know that."
Gill had no relatives at the temple at the time of the shooting, but he was close with the community.
He knew the faith leader, Shaheed Bhai Satwant Singh Kaleka, who was killed at the temple.