The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service: Assisting Communities in Resolving Conflicts and Restoring Peace

On Sunday, August 5, 2012, an individual with alleged white supremacist ties entered a Sikh gurdwara, or temple, in the community of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and opened fire on the congregation. Six worshippers were killed and four others were wounded, including a responding law enforcement officer.1 Within hours of the shooting, Community Relations Services (CRS) was in contact with national and local Sikh organizational leaders, the U.S. attorney for the district, and numerous federal and local law enforcement officials. In addition, CRS helped facilitate communication between law enforcement and community members, providing contact information for key law enforcement officials. Later that same week, CRS and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin facilitated a key leadership meeting to discuss hate crimes, analyze community concerns over the shooting, and assess community needs for funerals. CRS and its federal and local partners then assisted in the planning and moderation of a larger community meeting at Oak Creek High School that was attended by more than 250 people from the greater Milwaukee area.