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Police Face Cleaver-Wielding Suspect at Temple Service

Police Face Cleaver-Wielding Suspect at Temple Service

Bedford Police chief Greg Duber, second from right, arrives with additional investigators to probe a fatal police shooting at Gobind Singh Sikh Temple in Cleveland, Thursday, April 8, 2010. A man entered the Sikh temple in suburban Cleveland early Thursda

Associated Press

April 09, 2010

CLEVELAND — A man entered his Sikh temple in suburban Cleveland early Thursday, raised a meat cleaver near two members preparing for morning prayers, and was shot and killed by police, authorities said.

Police don’t believe Ravinder Nijjar, 41, of Bedford, had a religious motive for his behavior at the temple, where he worshipped, Police Chief Greg Duber said.

Nijjar entered the worship area of the Guru Gobind Singh Sikh Temple in Bedford with a meat cleaver 10 to 12 inches long, the chief said.

The two men readying to pray fled and returned with officers, who were confronted within a minute by the man, again with the cleaver raised, the chief said. He kept moving toward officers and was shot.

“The whole community is very much shocked,” said Kamaljit Singh Janda, a member and former president of the temple. “We lost a member of the congregation and somebody lost a son.”

Members of the temple have been questioning why police had to kill Nijjar, whose family has been part of the community since the late 1970s or early 1980s, Janda said. He said it’s likely the temple will make a formal request to Duber about the matter on Friday.

Janda said Nijjar always seemed calm when he had come to the temple in the past and that he was not known as a troublemaker.

Nijjar was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge in 2008, the chief said. He was referred while in jail for a mental-health consultation, Duber said. The chief didn’t know the outcome of that consultation.

Nijjar never showed up for his court date and was arrested on a warrant in late 2008 when police answered a call about a fight at his apartment building, the chief said. There is no court record of how the case was resolved, and the chief didn’t know.

Surinder Singh, temple secretary, said he doubted Nijjar had a gripe with anyone in the close-knit congregation.

“I don’t see any reason why he would harm somebody,” Singh said.

Janda said there have been no complaints since 2007, when there was a small dispute over membership. He says the dispute has since been settled to and “nobody had a grudge.”

A 2004 feud among temple members led to fist fights and brought police to the location 11 times in nine months. Factions disagreed over how to run the temple and whether leaders should wear beards and turbans.

The dispute was settled in the courts, and there haven’t been flare-ups, the chief said.

Janda said Thursday’s shooting has not raised concerns over safety because of its rarity and because Nijjar did not take any hostages.

“They just feel sad,” he said. “Everybody feels sad, and they’re grieving the loss, and why it happened in the temple.”

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Video of the Day: Law Enforcement Tribute

  • Snoopy_18_max50


    about 5 years ago


    This turned out right. The Officers are ok.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    Sounds like a good shoot to me, glad the officers are okay.

  • Wind_therapy-_angel_max50


    about 5 years ago


    The Officers were justifed, hopefully the temple and the community will understand that.
    Glad the officers went home.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    about 5 years ago


    Clearly, no option but the final option.

  • Ribbon_max50


    about 5 years ago


    Another good shoot! Glad everyone is ok.

    What the hell is going on this week?!?!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago

    "....Members of the temple have been questioning why police had to kill Nijjar..."

    OK... How is this for a statement within that paragraph:
    "...Members of the LE Community have been questioning why someone had to go get the Police..."

    There you have it brothers: The same catch-22 all over again... The same no-win situation...
    To respond Or Not To Respond... That's the question...!!!!

    Glad the Officers when home at EOT...

  • Dsc01386_max50


    about 5 years ago


    If you can believe it, people posting in the local news sites had the balls to say things like "why couldn't they just shoot the cleaver out of his hand?" Ignorance!

  • Sw12_max50


    about 5 years ago


    He had a meat cleaver. Enough said as to officers need to use deadly force. Good Job guys.

  • L_59fe72e99fa891e59f62e6ceb62eca88_max50


    about 5 years ago


    I guess the members of the temple thought those side arms were for decaration only, and that the officers were going to pull out a lolly pop and hug it out with him. Good job on the officers part.

  • Gas_mask_1_max50


    about 5 years ago


    Sounds like this temple has a lot more to worry about than just some cleaver wielding wierdo shot dead!

  • Img_0933_max50


    about 5 years ago


    Members of the temple want to know why police had to kill Niijar? You have to be kidding me. Great job by the officers. I sure hope the Chief had the officers back.

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