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Wisconsin Shooting: 7 People Killed At Sikh Temple, Including Shooter (LIVE UPDATES)

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OAK CREEK, Wis., Aug 5 (Reuters) - A gunman killed six people and critically wounded three at a Sikh temple during Sunday services before police shot him dead in an attack that authorities are treating as an act of domestic terrorism.

Witnesses said the gunman opened fire when he entered the kitchen at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee at about 10:30 a.m. CDT (1530 GMT) as women prepared a Sunday meal, sending worshippers fleeing to escape the barrage.

The suspect was a bald, white man, approximately 40 years old, said Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Authorities did not release his identity.

Four people were shot dead inside the sprawling temple. Three, including the gunman, were killed outside.


The gunman ambushed and shot a police officer who was responding to a 911 call and helping a shooting victim, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said. A second officer shot and killed the gunman.

Edwards said he had no identification for the shooter nor information on what kind of weapon or weapons he had. The victims' identities and descriptions were not made public.

The wounded officer, a 20-year veteran, was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. Hospital officials said two other victims, also in critical condition, were being treated.

Law enforcement personnel surrounded and searched a gray, two-storey house in the Cudahy neighborhood presumed to be the residence of the gunman on Sunday evening. Generators and floodlights were set up along the middle-class block.

A police source confirmed that a search warrant had been issued for the house, and a bomb squad was on the scene.

Temple member and U.S. Army Reserve combat medic Jagpal Singh, 29, said people who were at the service when the shooting broke out described to him a scene of chaos and confusion.

Worshippers scrambled to escape the gunfire, but some tragically ran in the wrong direction. Others survived the rampage by locking themselves in bathrooms, he said.

Singh said the eyewitnesses described the shooter as a white man who was either shave-headed or bald.


Turban-wearing Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is overseeing the probe into shootings, Edwards said.

"We're treating this as a domestic terrorist incident," he told reporters. Officials had no details about a possible motive.

Milwaukee's Froedtert Hospital said three male victims included one who had been shot in the abdomen, one in the extremities and face, and a third who was hit in the neck.

The Oak Creek shooting was the latest in a series of suburban U.S. gun rampages. Organizations fighting gun violence rate Wisconsin's gun safety laws from low to moderate. There are no limits on the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time, nor on the possession or transfer of assault weapons, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Sunday's attack came just over two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58. In January 2011, then-congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords was the target of an assassination attempt in which six people were killed and 13 were wounded in Tucson, Arizona.

"The gunman is worse than the one at the theater a couple of weeks ago because he targeted an entire community," said Jagatjit Sidhu, who was among dozens of temple members and onlookers gathered near the sealed off temple.

Some witnesses at the scene had said there was more than one gunman, but Edwards said reports of multiple gunmen were common in incidents that involved only one shooter.

"We believe there was one but we can't be sure," he said. Officers finished sweeping the temple only after hours of searching, and Edwards said the investigation was just starting.

President Barack Obama said he was "deeply saddened" and pledged his administration's commitment to fully investigate the shooting.

Obama was briefed by counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and FBI director Bob Mueller and told the situation at the temple was "under control."

"The president said that he wanted to make sure that as we denounce this senseless act of violence we also underscore how much our country has been enriched by our Sikh community," the White House said in a statement.


The Indian embassy in Washington said it was in touch with the National Security Council about the shooting and an Indian diplomat had been sent to the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

The Sikh faith is the fifth-largest in the world, with more than 30 million followers. It includes belief in one God and that the goal of life is to lead an exemplary existence.

The temple in Oak Creek, south of Milwaukee, was founded in October 1997 and has a congregation of 350 to 400 people. There are an estimated 500,000 or more Sikhs in the United States.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 by Islamist militants, Sikhs have sometimes been confused publicly with Muslims because of their turban headdress and beards.

Members of the Milwaukee Sikh community complained to police and a state representative last year about an upturn in robberies and vandalism at Sikh-owned gas stations and stores.

In September 2001, a Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, was shot dead by a man who was said to be seeking revenge on Muslims for the hijacked plane attacks on the United States.

Phoenix police said they were in contact with local Sikh leaders and had increased patrol presence around the three temples in the city until further notice.

New York police said they were increasing security at Sikh temples as a precaution. There are no known threats against temples in the city, they said in a statement.

Sapreet Kaur, executive director of the Sikh Coalition civil rights organization, said Sikhs had been the target of several hate-crime shootings in the United States in recent years.

"The natural impulse of our community is to unfortunately assume the same in this case," he said in a statement.

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Wisconsin shooter Wade Michael Page used a Springfield 9mm semiautomatic handgun to carry out the attack at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., Reuters reported. According to gun experts, the semiautomatic handgun is the same type used in other recent U.S. mass shootings, including one at a theater in Colorado and the attack on a congresswoman in Arizona.

Full story here.

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Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) has for months been advocating that the FBI collect data on hate crimes against Sikh Americans. Sunday's tragedy in Wisconsin, in which six people were killed at a Sikh temple, underscores his push.

"This is not the first time that Sikhs have been attacked," Crowley, whose New York City district includes parts of Queens and the Bronx, told The Huffington Post in an interview on Monday. "Unfortunately it's been growing consistently, on an ongoing basis. That's what my concern has been."

Full story here.

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Wade Michael Page was the subject of federal attention more than once prior to Sunday's deadly shooting, according to the Los Angeles Times:

Federal investigators had “looked at” Sikh temple gunman Wade Michael Page more than once because of his associations with right-wing extremists and the possibility that he was providing funding to a domestic terrorist group, but law enforcement officials at the time determined there was not enough evidence of a crime to open an investigation, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said.

Full story here.

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Reuters reports:

President Barack Obama said on Monday that mass killings like the weekend shooting rampage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin were happening with "too much regularity" and should prompt soul searching by all Americans on ways to reduce gun violence.

"All of us are heart-broken by what happened," Obama told reporters at the White House a day after a gunman opened fire on Sikh worshippers preparing for religious services, killing six before he was shot dead by a police officer.

Asked whether he would push for more gun-control measures in the wake of the shootings, Obama said he wanted to bring together leaders at all levels of American society to examine ways to curb gun violence.

That echoed his pledge last month in a speech in New Orleans to work broadly to "arrive at a consensus" on the contentious issue after a deadly Colorado shooting spree highlighted the issue in an election year. But like his earlier comments, Obama offered no timetable or specifics for such discussions.

Full story here.

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Via HuffPost Entertainment:

The connections between mass media and mass murder are often tenuous -- commentators were reluctant, for example, to indict the "Dark Knight" movie trilogy for the horrific shootings at Aurora, Colo., three weeks ago.

But it's harder to dismiss the revelation that Wade Michael Page, the man shot to death by police after a shooting spree that killed six worshipers in a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin on Sunday, belonged to a hardcore skinhead band called End Apathy.

Why? Because according to TJ Lindley, who was an active skinhead for 15 years before defecting and writing a book about his experiences, bands like End Apathy often have direct connections with the white supremacy movement.

"If you're in a white supremacy band, you are extremely active. You do not get involved in a band and doing stuff like that unless you are completely 100-percent dedicated to the movement," Lindley said.

Read more here.

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Alleged Sikh temple shooter Wade Michael Page joined a skinhead group in 2011 and played in bands with violent lyrics. The Daily Beast's Eliza Shapiro explains why he’s been on the Anti-Defamation League’s radar.

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Oak Creek (Wis.) Patch reports:

Satwant Singh Kaleka’s final action at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin was one of heroism.

When Wade Michael Page, the suspected gunman in Sunday’s tragic shooting, opened fire, the 65-year-old temple president rushed to stop him — possibly preventing more deaths.

“He was trying his best to give time for people to get to security,” said his son, Amardeep Kaleka, during a news conference at the Salvation Army in Oak Creek Monday.

Full story here.

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Funds are starting to be set up for victims and families affected by Sunday's tragic shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Head over to HuffPost Impact for a roundup of ways you can help.

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Via HuffPost Politics:

President Barack Obama ordered flags at all U.S. government facilities both at home and abroad to be flown at half-staff Monday, a response to a mass-shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin over the weekend.

"As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, August 10, 2012," Obama wrote in the proclamation.

Full story here.

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Dr. Harry Croft, a former Army psychiatrist who has evaluated more than 7,000 PTSD patients, delivered an emailed statement to The Huffington Post on this possibility:

"People need to be cautious and not jump to conclusions that this was another soldier suffering from PTSD or another mental condition. It’s quite possible his military background played no part in this, because it would appear that if he served from 92-98, he would have not been deployed in Desert Storm, Iraq or Afghanistan - and it’s extremely unlikely for a veteran suffering PTSD or other mental condition would commit such a heinous act."

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From Fort Bragg Patch:

The spokesman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office has posted redacted gun permits dated in 2008 for Wade Michael Page, identified by authorities as the suspect in Sunday's Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings. The five permits issued are good for five years.

According to the North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Association, all handgun transfers in North Carolina require that the intended recipient obtain a Pistol Purchase Permit from his/her local Sheriff.

One Pistol Purchase Permit is required per handgun at apiece. When the owner takes possession of the handgun, they must present the permit to the seller, who must keep it in his or her records. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor if the transaction takes place without the permit being presented.

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Pictures are emerging of the alleged shooter of seven people at a Wisconsin Sikh temple on Sunday.

Wade Michael Page reportedly had ties to white supremacist groups and was alleged to be a member of a heavy metal band that promoted an ultra-right-wing 'white power' agenda.

The picture below, supplied by the Anti-Defamation League, shows Page in front of a Nazi symbol.

wade michael page wisconsin shooting

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Wade Michael Page, the suspected Sikh temple shooter, was on the radar of the Anti-Defamation League for his involvement with white supremacist groups since 2010, according to Mark Pitcavage, the ADL's director of investigative research.

The ADL obtained photographs of Page playing guitar in front of a large swastika, which it said was taken from the Facebook page for the white supremacist group 'Definite Hate,' in early 2011. That page is no longer active.

Page was a member of Definite Hate, a band affiliated with the 'Hammerskin Nation', a white supremacist group founded in Dallas in the late 1980s, that now controls much of the White Power music scene in the U.S., according to the ADL.

wade page wisconsin shooting

A photo from Facebook shows Page playing guitar in front of a Hammerskin Nation banner, which features two crossed hammers. (Photo Credit: ADL)

-- John Rudolf

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From Oak Creek Patch:

Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy was the first officer to the scene and was ambushed and shot up to nine times while attempting to help an injured victim. When support arrived, he refused help and ordered officers to go into the temple and help others.

Read more here.

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HuffPost's David Lohr writes:

Authorities investigating the killing of six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin are trying to identify a person of interest who was at the crime scene after the shooting.

According to Oak Creek police chief John Edwards, the individual "showed up at the scene after the shooting." Edwards said officers who spotted the guy thought "this guy looks suspicious" but he left before they could speak with him.

Authorities cautioned that they do not believe anyone other than the suspected shooter, Wade Michael Page, was involved in the deadly shooting spree.

"We have every reason to believe there was only one shooter ... though our investigation to that end continues," U.S. Attorney James Santelle said at a press conference Monday morning.

Read the full story here.

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The shooting at a suburban Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on Sunday that left seven dead, including the gunman, and three in critical condition hits close to home for victims of the Aurora shooting that took place just over two weeks ago.

Now, some victims of the Aurora shooting are reaching out via social media to Wisconsin victims and urging others in the community to help during this difficult time that Aurora victims understand all too well.

Cody Hickman, a man who was inside theater eight at the Century 16 movie theater complex on the night of the Aurora shooting, wrote this heartfelt message on Sunday on the Aurora Theater Shooting Facebook page:

Friends, my name is Cody Hickman, and I was in theater 8 during the Aurora theater shooting. I am writing this post as a call to action for all of you. All you will be asked to do is repost this message, and help us network some support...

More here.

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The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence said in a statement today:

Washington, DC—Our hearts are heavy today as we join the nation in mourning the six innocent Americans who were killed yesterday at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. But “thoughts and prayers” are no longer enough in an America that experiences one mass shooting tragedy after another. For those who are in a position to take action that would save lives, it is immoral to share condolences and then immediately abdicate any responsibility to fight for the reforms that would prevent the next massacre. It’s time for all people of conscience to send a clear and loud message to their elected officials: Restore sanity to the screening system for gun buyers in this cou ntry, or we will vote you out of office.

The gunman in Oak Creek, 40 year-old neo-Nazi Wade Michael Page, had much in common with other recent mass shooters. He used a semiautomatic firearm with high-capacity ammunition magazines. And he was able to purchase his guns and ammo legally despite a personal history replete with red flags. Page was an Army veteran who had been discharged under less than honorable conditions. He had a criminal history. Most importantly, Page had been publicly involved in the White Power movement since 2000. He was known to both federal law enforcement authorities and also anti-hate watch groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center. And this is just what we know after a few hours.

This country deserves a firearm policy that prevents military-style hardware from falling into the hands of dangerous and deranged individuals. Our daily experience with gruesome violence is not inevitable. Let’s be clear: The repeated nature of these events is the direct result of the poor policy choices made by our elected leaders. Americans can solve big problems when they set their minds to it. Today is the day to start making these changes. We ask every American to call their elected representatives today and demand immediate reform. It’s long past time to stand up to the National Rifle Association and say, “Enough.”

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@ BreakingNews : Police: Gunman in Sikh temple shooting shot 1st officer to respond 8 to 9 times with handgun - @AP

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@ BreakingNews : FBI says no reason to believe anyone other than slain gunman was involved in the Sikh temple shooting - @AP

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India's prime minister said he was shocked Monday by the shooting attack that killed six people at a Sikh house of worship in the United States, and the top Sikh cleric accused the American government of a "security lapse."

"That this senseless act of violence should be targeted at a place of religious worship is particularly painful," he said in a statement.

Giani Gurbachan Singh, the head priest of Akal Takht, the highest Sikh temporal seat, called on Sikhs in the U.S. to adopt security measures at the U.S. temples, including installing closed-circuit cameras.

"This is a security lapse on the part of the U.S. government," he said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. He called for prayers for the victims to be said at Sikh temples across India and ordered a Sikh delegation sent to the U.S. to investigate the attack.

Read more here.

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@ BreakingNews : US military sources: Suspected Wisconsin temple shooter discharged from Army in 1998 for 'patterns of misconduct' - @Reuters

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From Oak Creek Patch:

Speaking with Oak Creek Patch after a round of national television interviews, Mayor Steve Scaffidi said it will take some time for the community to heal.

A memorial event is planned on Tuesday during National Night Out, which will be held as scheduled.

"You're going to feel the effects of this for a long time," he said. "We're going to work toward healing."

Scaffidi said he did not have any previous contacts with the Sikh Temple but knew them as a "great member of the community" that did not have past problems in Oak Creek. The Sikh Temple moved here about five years ago.

Scaffidi said the phone call he received from President Barack Obama Sunday afternoon was "startling." But the two- or three-minute conversation was very comforting, he said, as the president offered whatever federal resources are needed.

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ordered flags to half-staff to remember and mourn the tragic events at Oak Creek. In a statement, Walker sai:

"The people of Wisconsin join the Sikh community in mourning those killed yesterday and in remembering their lives," said Governor Scott Walker. "As our state comes together to care for the survivors, our hope is that the families and the whole Oak Creek community find healing and strength in the memory of their loved ones."

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According to Army records, the alleged shooter, Wade Michael Page, served in the U.S. Army from April 1992 until October 1998, reaching the rank of specialist E-4. He was assigned to psychological operations, a branch of the Army devoted to deception and propaganda. He trained at Fort Bliss,Tex., and was stationed at Fort Bragg where he had jump training.

There is no record of him receiving special weapons training. His awards show a standard level of achievement in the Army:

Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct, the National Defense Service Medal the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Parachutist Badge.

-- David Wood

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From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The man who allegedly murdered six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee yesterday, identified in media reports as Wade Michael Page, was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.

In 2010, Page, then the leader of the band End Apathy, gave an interview to the white supremacist website Label 56. He said that when he started the band in 2005, its name reflected his wish to “figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways” and start “moving forward.” “I was willing to point out some of my faults on how I was holding myself back,” Page said.

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Via CNN:

The man suspected of shooting and killing six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday is former Army soldier Wade Michael Page, 40, several law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation said Monday.

The shooter was killed by an officer at the scene.

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@ MichaelSkolnik : Today, we are all Sikh.

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Sources have reportedly told ABC News that the shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., is the work of a "white supremacist" or "skinhead." However, authorities have not released such allegations to the public, nor have they offered a motive for the attack.

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HuffPost's Jen Bendery reports:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is "devastated" by the mass shootings in Oak Creek, Wis., but said when it comes to revisiting the issue of gun control, Congress just doesn't have the votes to pass any laws.

"The votes aren't there for gun control," she said. "We certainly aren't going to be able to do it in this Congress, and I don't know that we would be able to do it in a Democratic Congress because it takes a lot of votes to go down that path."

Read the whole story here.

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From Lower Providence Patch:

According to Philadelphia Sikh Society’s vice president, Harvinder Kauer Kocher, since 9/11, she has noticed reports of acts of violence, intimidation, and in some cases, murder of members of the Sikh community.

“Whoever is wearing a turban in America is 99 percent Sikh,” Kocher said. “Not Muslim.”

Since the attacks, she said, the PSS has attempted to gain more exposure for understanding and welcoming for the Sikh community in the Philadelphia area and throughout the United States.

Locally, such measures have included participation in the annual Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation, which last took place April 29.

However, Kocher said, more needs to be done by the government and media.

"We are a very small community," Kocher said. "We need the government’s help, and talk on [television] about the suffering."

She suggested that the United States government should have increased gun control laws, and that the media should produce more coverage on the Sikh community for more understanding.

"Why do we have to have a tragedy happen to get good from it?" Kocher said. "And, by good, I mean the media letting people see that we are Sikhs."

Read the whole story here.

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