Tracy, California: Police have finally arrested a man suspected of murdering 64-year-old Parmjit Singh while taking a walk at Gretchen Talley Park in Tracy, California, 60 miles east of San Francisco.
The brutal attack took place on the evening of Sunday, Aug 25, when the assailant slit Parmjit Singh’s throat in the park. Almost a week later, police picked up 21-year-old Anthony Kreiter-Rhoads in connection with the crime.
Kreiter-Rhoads was arrested on Saturday and charged with homicide. No hate-crime charges have been pressed yet.
Confirming the arrest, Harnek Singh Kang, son-in-law of Parmjit Singh, told indica, “Yes, one man has been arrested. He lives north of Tracy. No hate-crime charges have been filed yet. That is for the court to decide.”
Kang, 40, said he was pleased the suspect had been caught. “The family is grieving, but everybody is feeling a little better,” he said. “However, fear of going to the park persists.”
Kang said it appeared Kreiter-Rhoads had acted alone and it probably was a hate crime, but the motive for the killing remains unclear as of now.
The case hearing has been set for Tuesday, Sept 3.
The murder had angered the Sikh community in California. Parmjit Singh, who is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter, and three grandchildren, used to work at a Ghirardelli factory outlet in Tracy. Because of low production at the candy-maker, he was off on Sunday.
Kang, who was shocked at the way his father-in-law died, had earlier told Indica that even though 911 and an ambulance reached the horrific scene quickly, Parmjit Singh could not recover from the heavy bleeding he had suffered. “We are in shock and wonder why anyone would kill such a nice person,” he had said.
Parmjit Singh used to visit churches, temples and gurdwaras everywhere he went. On the day of the attack, he had stopped for tea in the neighborhood. He had also told his family he would be back in time for dinner.
A native of Punjab, India, Parmjit Singh had moved to the US only three years ago. He used to walk two miles every day, and he was doing exactly that the night he was killed.
Reacting to the case, California Assembly member Ash Karla had told Indica, “This is tragic. He [Singh] was a hardworking man, respected by his family. This is what hate does. Hatred creates a loss of innocence.”
Kalra also said that as a legislator of the state of California he “condemn(s) the kind of hatred fed at all levels of government, including from the White House. We have condemned the rise of white nationalism as well as the hatred and bigotry that fuels these people with such anger to harm our innocent community.”
Such crimes require the participation of the whole community to solve, Kalra said, and urged everyone to call for tips to narrow down the suspect. “The Indian community in the region needs to make sure that everyone is giving what the police wants to solve this case,” he said.
On his message to the community, Kalra said, “I believe the community has the right to be frustrated and even angry about what happened. But we have to use all the emotions to figure out what we can do to get witnesses to come forward. These cases aren’t easy and become harder by every passing day.”
Raj Chahal, councilmember at the city council of Santa Clara in California, told Indica, “This is not a crime against one community but a crime against humanity. Whoever has done it should be punished by the book so that it’s not repeated.”
Kang, meanwhile, told Indica that a memorial service for his father-in-law would be held on Sept 14 between 10 am and 2 pm.