Daily Journal staff reports
Ten people were treated for minor injuries after a fight at a Greenwood temple, and police are continuing to work with Sikh leaders to try to prevent future issues.
At 2:42 p.m. Sunday, police were called to the Gurdwara Shri Guru HarGobind Sahib Ji temple on Graham Road, near Allen Road, where people were fighting and a crowd of 100 to 150 people had gathered. So many people were involved that officers from seven police departments were called in to help, according to a Greenwood Police Department news release.
The fight involved multiple people, and 10 reported minor injuries, mostly sprains and strains, and were treated and released from local hospital, Greenwood Fire Department spokesman Chad Tatman said.
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Of the people involved, at least two received stitches due to cuts or other injuries, Greenwood Assistant Police Chief Matt Fillenwarth said.
Initial reports were that people were using swords in the fight, but police have reviewed surveillance footage from inside the temple and determined that was not the case, Fillenwarth said. Sikh men wear decorative knives as part of their traditional clothing, but police saw no indication those were used in the fight, he said.
The incident was the second time in a week that police have been called there after elections naming new leadership for the temple. Police were called to the temple the previous weekend and had to break up a fight at that time involving a smaller group of people, he said.
Greenwood Police Chief John Laut already had been talking with elders at the temple about the incident the previous week, and those discussions will continue in order to prevent another incident, Fillenwarth said.
Police understand the issue is one that members are passionate about, since it involves the direction of their temple and community. But they also have to make sure everyone there is safe, he said.
“We are concerned with safety and we can’t have people being hurt and going to the hospital,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get cooler heads to prevail.”
No one was arrested at the temple Sunday because police needed time to sort out what happened, he said. Police did not have to use force or break up any fights when they arrived, he said. Someone had used pepper spray before officers arrived, he said.
When officers arrived, they found a large group of people, but the majority of them weren’t fighting, and were just there to worship, he said. Surveillance footage shows some people fighting and others trying to break up the altercations, he said.
Firefighters responded as though it was a mass-casualty incident due to the possibly large number of people involved and set up a triage to quickly assess the injured, Tatman said.
Police still are investigating what happened, and that will likely take a few days, Fillenwarth said. Investigators will need to continue reviewing video and speaking with people who were there, he said.
The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office would decide what, if any, charges should be filed.