reopen paramjit

File photo of Parmjit Singh. (photo courtesy Harnek Singh Kang)

TRACY, Calif. (AP) — Detectives in Northern California were gathering more evidence in the killing of an Indian American Sikh man who was stabbed during a nighttime walk after a judge dismissed charges against a man arrested in the case citing lack of evidence, an official said Oct. 15.

Parmjit Singh, 64, was wearing his traditional turban when he was fatally stabbed Aug. 25, 2019 in a park in the city of Tracy, in the Central Valley east of San Francisco.

Anthony Kreiter-Rhoads, 22, was arrested in the case after police released surveillance video of a man who was running in the park area around the time of the stabbing and identified him. A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge ordered Kreiter-Rhoads’ release earlier this month after ruling that there was insufficient evidence to proceed to trial. (See India-West story here: https://bit.ly/2Haeywg)

The case “is an open homicide investigation that our investigations team is currently working on,” Tracy Police spokesman Lt. Miguel Contreras said Oct. 15.

Sing’s killing came a month after another Sikh man was attacked in a neighboring community.

Singh came to the United States in 2016 from India to stay with family in Tracy. He had two children and three grandchildren.

India-West Staff Reporter adds: Jasmit Singh with United Sikhs stated that the Tracy Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed to reopen the murder investigation, according to recordnet.com, which added that Sikh organizations from Tracy to Washington, D.C., had issued a “Call to Justice” for the family of Parmjit Singh who, they say, was the target of a hate crime.

India-West adds from a previous article: San Joaquin, California Superior Court Judge Michael Mulvihill, in dropping all charges against Kreiter-Rhoads Oct. 1, not only ruled after three days of testimony from 17 witnesses there there was insufficient evidence to hold Kreiter-Rhoads for trial, but also cited lack of probable cause and lack of motive.

“We are very disappointed,” Harnek Singh Kang, the deceased man’s son-in-law, told India-West. “I was there on every court date. There was very good evidence and we expected he would be convicted of murder.”

“If he’s not the one, then whoever has done this needs to be in prison,” said Kang, who referred to the late Indian American man as his father, having lost his own in childhood.

Angela Hayes, deputy district attorney for San Joaquin County, told India-West: “The District Attorney’s office was disappointed and surprised. We were not expecting this.”

According to reports from the Tracy Police Department and the San Joaquin County Coroner’s office, on the evening of Aug. 25, 2019, as Singh, 64, was taking his daily stroll in Gretchen Talley Park near his home, Kreiter-Rhoads allegedly ambushed Singh by coming up behind him and then slit his throat with a knife. Singh also had knife wounds on his hand, according to the coroner’s report, indicating he had tried to defend himself.

Singh bled out at the scene, even as emergency personnel attempted to administer aid.

Kreiter-Rhoads was arrested at his home Aug. 31, based on surveillance camera footage that showed someone matching his description fleeing from the scene, and tips from the community.

Sgt. Miguel Contreras of the Tracy Police Department told India-West that a detective has been assigned to the case to re-examine all evidence for further clues. “The case is currently an open homicide investigation,” he said, noting that the evidence was circumstantial.

The United Sikhs, which had advocated on behalf of Singh and his family, released a statement Oct. 7 demanding FBI intervention into a possible hate crime.

“All of the indications of a possible race and or religious hate motive are present in this case,” stated Jasmit Singh of United Sikhs. “But prosecutors and police should have cast a wider net for proof.”

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