Sikh Temple Gunman Identified As Veteran With White Supremacist Ties
Wade Michael Page entlisted in the army in 1992 and rose to the rank of sargent before being demoted to specialist before he left the service in 1998. He was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He recieved a general discharge but was classified as ineligible for reenlistment.
Described as white, tall and heavy-set, Page was a "frustrated neo-Nazi" and the former leader of a white supremacist band, "End of Apathy," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Some witnesses reported seeing 9/11 tattoos on Page during the attack.
Oak Creek Police confirmed five Sikh men and one woman, ages 39 to 84, were killed. Temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka, was among the dead.
Three others were injured, including Lt. Brian Murphy, 51, a 21-year veteran of the department who suffered multiple gunshot wounds while assisting a victim in the parking lot. He was shot eight to nine times at close range. The two other victims remain hospitalized in critical condition, the Washington Post reported.
Sunday's massacre at a place of worship came just two weeks after a shooting rampage in a movie theather in Aurora, Colo. left 12 dead and 58 injured.
Sikhs were sometimes the victims of hate crimes after being mistaken for Muslims in the anti-Islamic sentiment following the Sept. 11 attacks. Valarie Kaur, who directed "Divided We Fall," a documentary about Sikh persecution following the attacks, said this tragedy should be used as an opportunity "to do the hard work of listening" and learn more about different faiths.
From Kaur's "Today, we are all American Sikhs" via CNN:
If we really want to unite in response to this national tragedy, we need to know whom we are embracing. For many, this means learning about Sikh Americans for the first time -- and listening closely to what's at stake. For me, the mass shooting is not just about how to keep guns out of the hands of a murderous few. It's also about my community's sacrifice in the struggle to live as free and proud Americans.
Oak Creek Police released the picture of a man said they were seeking as a second person of interest who was at the scene Sunday, possibly videotaping what was going on, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.