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FBI Investigating Brutal Attack Against Elderly Sikh Man

Local and federal authorities addressed how they plan to prosecute the suspect accused of sending an elderly Sikh to the hospital in a brutal attack.
Fresno Police now say an elderly Sikh leader is the victim of a possible hate crime.

Federal agents were at a special meeting with Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer Tuesday.

Gilbert Garcia is locked up, accused of attempted murder.

The attack happened at the Sikh temple off Cherry and North in Fresno.

CBS47’s Lemor Abrams has more on the investigation.

Sikhs gathered in a show of solidarity.

As local and federal authorities addressed how they plan to prosecute the suspect accused of sending an elderly local Sikh to the hospital in a brutal attack.

“We are absolutely certain that it is a hate crime," said Police Chief Jerry Dyer

The US Attorney's Office is investigating to see whether the attack meets the criteria to be defined as a federal hate crime.

 “The FBI has been on this case probably for 48 hours at this point so there's still more work to be done-they will be evaluating it with prosecutors from our office as well as the civil rights division,” said US Attorney Assistant Mark Cullers. 

81-year old Plara Singh was beaten with an iron rod after leaving temple Sunday morning.

“My heart goes out to any old frail 80 some year old attacked with a medal bar unprovoked for now rhyme or reason,” said Sikh Activist Ike Grewal.  

Non-Sikhs also prayed in support of the Victim’s family.

“It's ignorance to attack anyone that's different,” said Michael Clary. 

The suspect: Gilbert Garcia, faces attempted murder charges.

Garcia has no prior hate crime related offenses. 

But the Sikh community wants him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Right now the FBI does not categorize hate crimes against the Sikh community as separate category and we are pushing the FBI to do so,” said Sikh Coalition’s Simran Kaur. 

Sikhs say they've been targeted since the twin tower attacks back in 2001.

“We've been trying to raise awareness since 911 because that's when it became very apparent that we were being victimized,” said Sikh Council of Central California’s Sharnjit Purewall.  

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