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Priest partially paralyzed in Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting dies at 72

OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A priest who was partially paralyzed after being shot during the 2012 Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting died Monday, March 2.

Baba Punjab Singh passed away at the age of 72.

In a social media post, the City of Oak Creek government confirmed the priest's death, saying in part:

"Please help us extend our condolences to the family of Baba Punjab Singh and to all of our friends at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin."

Singh's family released the following statement on his passing: 

“It is with sadness, but also peace and acceptance, that we confirm the passing of my father, Baba Punjab Singh. He was a beloved husband, father, and family member to us all, and equally revered by many in our community. Baba spent his life serving as a Sikh religious teacher who travelled the country and the world delivering kathas--orations that share the lessons and history of the Sikh faith.”

“Baba ji’s capacity for love and optimism was unchanged by the heinous attack in Oak Creek, as well as the life-altering injuries he sustained. Even when I regularly visited him in the hospital after his paralysis, I would ask him: Are you living in chardi kala, the Sikh spirit of eternal optimism? Each time, without fail, he would blink twice to say ‘yes.’ His resilience embodied the greater Sikh community’s response in the wake of the Oak Creek tragedy, and it was one of the many lessons he continually taught throughout his life.”

“My father’s injuries and his passing, along with the other lives lost that day, are a reminder of the toxic hate that still plagues our country. But I want Baba ji to be remembered by the values, inspired by Sikhi, that he exemplified every day--including love, equality, humility, eternal optimism, and service to others. These values, which are critically important to our collective humanity, can bring us all closer together. Our hope is that his life serves as a reminder of an essential truth of our faith: that the number of our breaths is written by God, but it falls to us to do our best in how we use them.”

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