California town shocked by Avtar tragedy
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A pall of gloom descended upon the quiet neighbourhood where the family of troubled former Indian Army officer Avtar Singh lived until last week, as a shocked community came together to remember what they describe as an affable family.
As many as 200 people came together for a candle light vigil for the victims of Singh's killing spree, even as the eldest child of the family struggled for his life at a hospital.
Candles were lit and people left flowers with posters and hand-written notes remembering the family and expressing their loss and pain, as the windows were boarded shut at the Singh home where the tragedy unfolded on Saturday.
Barbara Childers, a neighbour of the family, spoke at the vigil of how wonderful the family had been to her, according to local paper Fresnobee. "They were always very friendly and accommodating," Childers said in the Californian town of Selma.
At the memorial vigil, footage of the two older Singh sons was shown. Childers said the two older sons often mowed her lawn. "They never took money from me, even when I offered to pay them," she was quoted as saying.
Another neighbour Diana Diaz said she often spoke with Singh's wife and her two young daughters would play outside with the five-year-old child who was also killed. She said Singh's wife, whom she called Vanessa, told Diaz that her husband's trucking business was failing and that they were encountering financial struggles.
"Chris was smart, funny and very motivated. He was very easy to get along with," said Alexis Galindo, a classmate of the eldest boy. Galindo said the boys did tell her that their father kept weapons in the house, but they never mentioned any problems at home. Another classmate Christopher Cano said he had last spoken to Chris on Friday night, a day before the tragedy, at a theatre. "He was with his mom and brothers. They looked so happy," he said.
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