After news broke Sunday of the shooting deaths of Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier, locals at the Islamic Center of San Diego said there are no excuses for the soldier’s actions.
A staff sergeant from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., turned himself in after shooting villagers as they slept.
Witnesses said the unidentified soldier went from house to house at 3 a.m. gunning down 16 people, including women and children, and torching some of the bodies.
The soldier is in NATO custody. Obama and top U.S. officials quickly condemned the attack and offered their condolences to families of the victims. Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai, both vowing to hold any perpetrators accountable.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the shootings "cannot be forgiven."
Those attending a prayer service Sunday evening at the Islamic Center of San Diego called the attack devastating.
"I'm sad, I'm not mad about it, I'm sad about it,” said Issam Lagrichi.
“But I can say that I'm mad in the sense that we need to do something about it as humans. I'm not going to blame the Afghanistan or U.S. government."
Hanif Mohebi, Executive Director, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told NBCSanDiego his heart bleeds for those killed.
Mohebi and others at the center said the attack hurts many more than just those who knew the 16 people who lost their lives.
Some told NBCSanDiego they were not surprised by the violence and believe something similar will happen again in the future.