Sikh Temple Gunman Wanted 'Racial Holy War,' Was Fired For Alcohol Use
Wade Michael Page, the man identified as being the gunman in the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting on Sunday, was a former member of the U.S. army and a former truck driver until excessive alcohol use cost him both of those jobs.
According to The Washington Post:
[Page] was discharged from the Army in 1998 because he had been found drunk during military exercises, according to law enforcement authorities. He was convicted of driving under the influence a year later in Colorado. And a trucking company confirmed Tuesday morning that it fired Page two years ago after he was pulled over in North Carolina for driving while impaired.
Yet, the 40-year-old Page was also described as a "very kind, very smart individual" by Christopher Robillard of Oregon, who said Page was "his closest friend" during an interview with CNN:
- "He would talk about the racial holy war, like he wanted it to come," Robillard said. "But to me, he didn't seem like the type of person to go out and hurt people."
- Later Monday, Robillard told CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" that Page likely sought attention to his beliefs "because he was always the loner type of person. Even in a group of people, he would be off alone."
Seven people were killed in the Sikh temple shooting on Sunday including the temple's president, Satwant Singh Kaleka.
According to Reuters, the gun Page used was the exact weapon used in the recent Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting, the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting that killed 32 people, as well as the one used to attack Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords: a Glock handgun.
Semiautomatic handguns are the weapon of choice for mass murderers because they are light and easy to conceal, and adaptable to using high-capacity magazines, experts say. This allows the shooter to fire the maximum number of bullets in a short period of time, said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit group that advocates to reduce gun violence.
President Obama expressed his condolences to the Sikh temple victims and families and urged that the FBI continue assisting with the investigation. In a press release issued by the White House, 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, who are an integral part of our broader American family."
GOP nominee Mitt Romney also expressed his condolences: "This was a senseless act of violence and a tragedy that should never befall any house of worship," Romney said.
Find more Neon Tommy coverage of the sikh temple shooting here.
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