King County prosecutors have charged four men with first-degree assault, accusing them of attacking a fellow member of the Sikh temple in Renton last month with a baseball bat, a ceremonial sword, a dagger, iron bracelets and their feet, court records show.
Renton police are still working to identify a fifth man who participated in the attack and is described in charging papers as the brother-in-law of one of the suspects.
The victim, whose age and city of residence is not included in the charges, suffered broken fingers, multiple stab wounds to his head, a deep sword wound to one arm, an injury to his other arm from being struck with the bat and multiple cuts and bruises, the charges say. He later told police the suspects yelled at him in Punjabi during the attack, and he translated what they said as, “Today you die!”
The charges do not include a possible motive for the assault.
Charged are Kuljit Singh, 33; Harinderbir Singh Gill, 62; and Maninder Pal Singh Dahb, 37, who are all of Kent, and 50-year-old Harbhajan Singh of Renton. A warrant was issued Oct. 27 for Kuljit Singh’s arrest; his co-defendants have all posted $100,000 bail, court records show. The charges note the men are not related to each other.
None of the men have prior criminal convictions, and court records do not yet indicate who their attorneys are. They are scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 9.
“The defendants attacked the victim in a place of worship, after arming themselves with several weapons. The defendants’ attack was only stopped when others intervened,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Phillips wrote in charging papers filed Oct. 27. “Even after the victim attempted to flee, the victim was again attacked. All of this was done within sight and sound of countless witnesses.”
According to the charges:
The Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington, located at 5200 Talbot Rd. S. in Renton, is a 23,000-square-foot temple that serves an estimated 50,000 area Sikhs.
A little after 2 p.m. on Oct. 18, a man was in the temple parking lot talking with friends when Kuljit Singh walked up to him and said something to the effect of, “You don’t know how dangerous I am.” A witness later told police that in the Sikh community, such a statement is considered a credible threat of harm.
The man went inside and reported the threat to the temple president. While making his report in an office, he was rushed by a pack of men and was beaten, stabbed and stomped. Other temple members intervened and stopped the attack.
The man, who briefly lost consciousness, woke up covered in blood and fled to another area of the temple, where two witnesses attempted to stop “the excessive bleeding from the injuries sustained in the attack,” the charges say.
As the man fled the temple, Harbhajan Singh attacked him with a baseball bat while Dahb struck him with a ceremonial sword, according to the charges. It is unclear how the second attack was stopped, but the charges say a number of people called 911 and reported several fights had broken out inside the temple.
Renton police said at the time that five or six people were taken to Valley Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.