Terlok Singh was discovered dead by his cousin on Thursday in his store with an apparent stab wound in the chest.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s office is calling the incident a homicide, according to a report in ABC7NY.
The motive behind the killing was not immediately known.
Singh, described as a very kind person, is survived by his wife and children who live in India. He owned the store to support his family.
His family closed the store as a deeply-saddened community watched in horror.
The news report said Singh ran his store for at least six years and a neighbour said he should not have had to worry about being attacked in his workplace.
Civil rights organisation the Sikh Coalition, in a Facebook post, expressed condolences to Singh’s family, friends and local community.
Simran Jeet Singh, a visiting scholar at New York University’s Centre for Religion and Media and a Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition, tweeted about Singh’s tragic death, saying, “This is the third attack on a Sikh in the last three weeks. So tired of all this sadness.”
On August 6 in Manteca, California, 71-year-old Sahib Singh was brutally attacked by Tyrone McAllister and a juvenile when the elderly man went on a morning walk.
McAllister, who is this son of a local police chief, and the juvenile were charged with attempted robbery, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.
On July 31, 50-year-old Surjit Malhi was attacked while putting up campaign signs in support of incumbent Republican Congressman Jeff Denham and other local Republican candidates.
While beating Malhi, the attackers yelled ‘Go back to your country!’ and spray-painted the same message, along with hate symbols, on his truck.
Following the two incidents, the Sikh Coalition had urged members of the community to know their rights, remain vigilant and report cases of bias, bigotry and backlash in the wake of the attacks.
“We are deeply troubled by these two recent attacks and strongly encourage increased vigilance nationwide as we work to support the Central Valley, California community during this difficult time,” Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur had said.
– with agency inputs