Adventist Third Victim of Sniper

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Adventist Sniper Victim Mourned

Adventist Sniper Victim Mourned

Washington, D.C., United States

[Ansel Oliver/ANN Staff]

As people in the Washington, D.C. area breathe easier after the capture of two suspects in the three-week series of sniper murders, Adventists are mourning one of their own. Premkumar Walekar, 54, was the third victim of the shootings. He was shot to death October 3 while filling his taxicab with gasoline.

Walekar was a member of Sligo Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland. He is survived by his wife and two children. A trust fund has been established to help the family with immediate expenses.

Several state jurisdictions, as well as the federal government, have already filed charges against suspects John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo for the shootings that left 10 people dead and three wounded.

Adventist spokesman Ray Dabrowski has expressed deep appreciation on behalf of the church to all branches of law enforcement involved in the three-week pursuit and capture of the shooting suspects.

"Violence, death, terror--these are all-too-common occurrences in today's society," says Dabrowski. "As Christians, Adventists look forward to the time when these evils will be no more. But until then, Adventists are committed to being agents of peace in society, and to supporting those impacted by violence."

Some news reports have dwelt on suggestions that one of the suspects, John Allen Muhammad, is a convert to Islam. But John Graz, public affairs and religious liberty director for the Adventist world church, has cautioned strongly against religious generalizations. "Let's not fall into stereotyping just because one suspect has an Islamic name," says Graz. He adds that religious stereotyping is unproductive and dangerous, and is the first step toward intolerance and, ultimately, persecution.