Case of Sikh Shot in North Phoenix in 2003 Remains Unsolved

July 7, 2006

Source: The Arizona Republic

On July 7, 2006 The Arizona Republic reported, in May 2003 "Avtar Singh Cheira, a 52-year-old truck driver who lives in Phoenix, was shot twice by men in a red pickup near Ninth Street and Bell Road, police said. The Indian immigrant, who has lived in the United States for 18 years, was wearing a turban as he waited for his family to pick him up from work about 9:20 p.m. 'I heard that voice say, "Go back to where you belong to," and at the same time I heard that shot,' Cheira said... at a Valley hospital, where he winced with pain each time he moved his legs..." The update story reads:

"Cheira, now 55, said that the shooting put him in the hospital for about 10 days and that he was unable to work for nearly three months. He relied on friends, family and the Valley Sikh community to lend him money to cover truck and house payments while he was out of work. 'If they weren't there, I don't think I could stand up again (financially),' Cheira said. Cheira incurred more than $100,000 in medical expenses from the attack and carries nearly $3,000 in debt after the majority of the expenses were forgiven because of his inability to pay. Cheira has since moved to a gated community for more safety, and said to this day he worries about his family's safety. With no arrests in the joint Phoenix police-FBI investigation and a $20,000 reward for information still uncollected, Cheira said he feels that the case has been forgotten. Cheira was the second Valley Sikh attacked after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the experience had a chilling effect on the nearly 2,000-member community."