Before 40-year-old Wade Michael Page became a white supremacist and went on a shooting rampage at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. that left seven people dead, including himself, and three others critically wounded, he was a "gentle, kind, loving" child growing up in Colorado, according to his stepmother Laura Page, who still lives in Denver.
According to The Associated Press, 67-year-old Laura Page says she married Wade's father Jesse Page when Wade was just 10 years old. Laura hadn't had contact with her stepson Wade for about 10 years -- ever since Jesse, who lives in Texas now and is battling cancer, and she got a divorce.
According to his stepmother, Wade was very different as a child than as an adult. "He was a beautiful child," Page said to 9News. "I would not have known this was Wade. What has changed him? I have no idea and obviously we're never going to know."
According to a 2010 interview with Page about his white supremacist band End Apathy on Label56.com -- which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as being a white supremacist website, the interview has since been removed -- Page said he was "originally from Colorado" but in 2000 he left his home state on his motorcycle to join the white power music scene. There was no discussion of violence in the interview.
But his stepmother knew a different Wade, "He had Hispanic friends and he had black friends," Laura told 9News. "There was none of that."
Wade Page served six years in the U.S. Army between 1992 and 1998 including a brief period serving in psychological operations, according to ABC News. He was reduced in rank and then discharged after being deemed "ineligible for re-enlistment."
Laura Page believes that her stepson's racist views were formed while serving in the military during the 1990s. "If you want to get down to it, my gut feeling [is], 'Yes,'" Laura said to 7News about where she thinks her stepson developed his bigoted point of view. "But I'll never know that."
Laura says that their family led a normal life doing the things that many families do like going camping, fishing and to the zoo. "We did all those things," Laura said. He began his freshman year at Littleton High School in 1987 and lived in the Denver metro area for years. He had a small criminal record in Denver for traffic violations and a DUI all of which he received between 1999 and 2000 before he left the state.
"My heart goes out to those people," Laura Page said of the Wisconsin shooting victims. "I am as devastated for them. All I can do is put them in my prayers."
Photos from the Wisconsin shooting:
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