WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Hakitka Singh Panag and his wife, Paramjit Kaur should be visiting family in India now.
Instead, the West Chester couple, along with two other family members, are dead after they were found shot to death in a Wyndtree Drive apartment Sunday night. The victims were 59-year-old Hakikat Singh Panag and his three female family members — 62-year-old Paramjit Kaur, 58-year-old Amarjit Kaur and 39-year-old Shalinderjit Kaur.
Harbans Singh, the brother of Hakikat Singh, told Indian newspaper the Hindustan Times that the couple had been due to arrive at his village in Punjab on Thursday.
"We are totally in the dark," he told the Times. "Don't know how it happened and who is behind it? I just know that I Have lost my brother."
Hakikat moved to the U.S. about 40 years ago, the Times reported. His brother said he "was living happily" and remained on good terms with relatives in friends in India. They had just visited last year.
In West Chester, neighbors and fellow Sikhs from the Guru Nanak Society Sikh Gurudwara Sahib of Greater Cincinnati also recalled the victims fondly this week, with society president Jasminder Singh telling WCPO they were a "beautiful family."
He led a prayer service Monday night to remember the family.
"They were very nice people," said Katwinder Dhaliwal, who attended with his own family. "Middle-class family, you know. Hard workers, do everyday work, come back. ... They came from India, had a good future, you know?"
On Friday, the West Chester Board of Trustees released a statement saying the community is "reeling" from the crime.
"Rest assured our police department has the resources, skills and commitment needed to find justice in the wake of this tragedy," the trustees said. "Holding accountable the person responsible for this unimaginable crime is our top priority."
Local Sikh leaders will be providing words of wisdom and prayer prior to the start of the trustees' 6 p.m. meeting on May 7.
"West Chester is a welcoming community that celebrates diversity in all forms ... You don't have to live here your entire life to feel like you belong," the trustees said.