Sikh Taxi Driver Shot Dead in Richmond

December 27, 2005

Source: Contra Costa Times

On December 27, 2005 the Contra Costa Times reported, "Gurpartap Singh was well-aware of the dangers of the taxi driver's profession, especially in some sections of West Contra Costa that he served. 'There are too many people who carry guns and knives,' Singh told the Times in January 1999 after the shooting death of another cab driver, Munther Salman, in North Richmond. 'It's a risky job, and we pray to God every day'... On Sunday, after eight years driving a cab, the 58-year-old Sikh and former farmer from India's Punjab region became a victim of the violence he and his colleagues fear daily, no matter what they do to avoid it.

Richmond police found Singh shortly after 11:30 a.m. with fatal gunshot wounds. He was inside his cab, which had crashed into the back of a parked car... Police believe Gurpartap Singh was killed in the course of a robbery or attempted robbery... But Valarie Kaur, a Sikh filmmaker based in Los Angeles [who produced a film dealing with violence against Sikhs post-September 11], said that even if the motive for Singh's killing was robbery, the crime fits into a greater context of violence against Sikhs and other people of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent in post-Sept. 11 America.

'It becomes impossible and irresponsible not to consider hate as part of the motive,' Kaur said."