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It seems like everytime I open up the SFGate website (the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle) there is a story about yet another killing in Richmond (CA not VA). As my fair city has been ranked as the 9th most dangerous city in the US, this doesn’t surprise me. 2007 has been a particularly bad year. I believe we have broken our record for murder. Even though the Iron Triangle where most of these crimes occur is less than a mile away from where I live geographically, demographically the neighborhood of Point Richmond is a long ways away. So from this safe distance, in my heart, I try to acknowledge the loss of life and the people who will mourn their son/father/brother (let’s face it, most of these murder victims are men). It’s easy to get numb and cynical, especially when many of these victims are willingly part of a gang culture where life becomes incredibly cheap.

So, today, once again there is a headline about a murder in Richmond – this time at a local restaurant.

(12-28) 04:00 PST Richmond — Two separate Richmond shootings Thursday night claimed the lives of three men, police said.

The first shooting was reported at 9:14 p.m. and occurred in Sahib Indian Restaurant, located at 12221 San Pablo Ave., Richmond police Sgt. Lori Curran said.

Two male suspects apparently entered the restaurant and began shooting, according to Curran. Arriving officers found the victims, both employees of the restaurant, suffering from life threatening injuries, Curran said.

One victim was pronounced dead at the scene and the second victim was airlifted to an area hospital where he later died, according to Curran.

Curran said there were no customers in the restaurant at the time of the shooting.

At 9:49 p.m., police responded to reports of a man down in the 300 block of South 38th Street. Officers found a male victim suffering a gunshot wound to his head, Curran said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both shootings are under investigation and no arrests have been made.

I’ve eaten at the Sahib Restaurant on a number of occasions. I believe it is a family run restaurant, either that or they have very, very loyal employees as the same people have been there for years. And while I wouldn’t call myself a regular, nor do I know the staff personally, I feel a connection to these victims that I haven’t for the other 40+ who have been murdered this year.

So right now, I just feel sad; sad for the families who lost their loved ones, sad for the other hardworking shop owners in that little stripmall whose businesses will no doubt be negatively impacted, and sad for the good, hardworking people of Richmond who will feel a little bit more fearful when going out into own own community for a meal or to shop. The violence is no longer just between gang-bangers, and those who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s now creeping into our public places which used to feel safe.

I’ll think I’ll stop by and pick up some flowers and drop them by the restaurant on my way home, and then grab dinner at the yummy Vietnamese joint just next door. I don’t know what else I can do besides just show my support in these small ways.

*******

Update: The Contra Costa Times has a much more fleshed out version of the story here. As does SFGate here.

If anyone wishes to send condolences, there is a site here for Ravi, and here for Paramjit

I stopped by the restaurant to drop off flowers on my home this evening and found a small gathering of people, many just shaking their heads in disbelief. The local Sikh community were starting to gather to try and figure out what to do. The family of the two slain brothers are all in India, and transporting there bodies there is quite expensive. God, it’s all so senseless.

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4 responses »

  1. Sahib Restuarant was owned by the two brothers who were shot and killed there last evening.

    Ravi and Pami arrived from the Punjab sometime in the late 1990’s, perhaps 1996. They came with a desire to work hard and be successful and all who knew them know they were – successful in gathering hearts, friends, community, skills and at various times money.

    They were generous, optimistic, gentle and funny. Their deaths are a terrible loss for all who knew them as well as for the one(s) who took their lives.

    My heart goes out to their mother who awaited their return home – just not in this way.

  2. We ate there often, as did friends, and are horrified and saddened.

    One theory is that the sale of the restaurant that fell through might have something to do with this. Or maybe someone they may have rented to (or were to sell to) in one of the properties they rehabbed?

    I hope the police investigate the business dealings as a possible reason. I hope there are records of this. The woman who was manager there for so long may know about the business contacts?

    We can still see Ravi’s bright smile of greeting!

    Susan (who has a business in Richmond not too far from Sahib location)

  3. I was born on the other side of the world, Johannesburg South Africa. And sadly this is all too familiar to me. So, to echo lillipilli….

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