* Gunman served in the U.S. Army from 1992 to 1998
* Shooter had links to neo-Nazi group, was in skinhead bands
* Page used a 9mm handgun that was legally purchased
By Brendan O'Brien and James B. Kelleher
OAK CREEK, Wis., Aug 6 The gunman who killed six
worshipers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin was identified as a
40-year-old U.S. Army veteran and authorities said they were
investigating possible links to white supremacist groups and his
membership in skinhead rock bands.
The assailant, shot dead by police at the scene on Sunday,
was identified as Wade Michael Page. He served as a soldier in
the Army from 1992 to 1998, police chief John Edwards said in
the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek where the 400-member temple is
Survivors described women and children hiding in the pantry
of the temple's community kitchen as the gunman stormed through
the building. "Everyone was falling on top of one another," said
Parminder Toor, 54, speaking in Punjabi as her daughter-in-law,
Jaskiran Kaur, translated.
"It was dark and we were all crammed in." One of the women
who made it into the pantry had been shot in the hand, and there
was "blood everywhere," said Toor.
Federal authorities said they were treating the attack as a
possible act of domestic terrorism.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks
hate groups, Page was a member of two racist bands named End
Apathy and Definite Hate, "a band whose album 'Violent Victory'
featured a gruesome drawing of a disembodied white arm punching
a black man in the face."
A MySpace page for a band that appears to be one of those
identified by the SPLC, End Apathy, includes songs with titles
such as "Self Destruct," "Submission" and "Insignificant," as
well as pictures of three heavily tattooed band members.
"The music is a sad commentary on our sick society and the
problems that prevent true progress," the band's profile says.
Band T-shirts advertized on the page include one with the
Roman numeral 14 -- a number the SPLC said was a reference to
the 14-word white supremacist slogan "We must secure the
existence of our people and a future for white children."
A YouTube video posted in 2009 of a song by Definite Hate,
which appears to have been another Page band, shows a scroll of
the lyrics that includes: "Wake Up, White man, For Your Race,
And your land," and "Wake Up People Or Your Gonna Die!"
The SPLC pointed to a 2010 interview with white supremacist
website Label 56 in which Page said he had played in various
bands since 2000, when he left his native Colorado on a
Two years earlier, in 1998, Page had been discharged from
the Army for "patterns of misconduct," according to military
sources. He had served for six years but was never posted
overseas. He was a psychological operations specialist and
missile repairman who was last stationed at Fort Bragg, North
Carolina, the sources said.
In June 1998 he was disciplined for being drunk on duty and
had his rank reduced to specialist from sergeant. He was not
eligible to re-enlist.
In recent months, Page moved to a suburb of Milwaukee called
Cudahy. Peter Hoyt, who lives nearby, said he would often see
Page sitting on his porch or walking the neighborhood.
Page talked about an ex-girlfriend who had broken up with
him or, sometimes, the Green Bay Packers. "He was friendly with
me," Hoyt said. "When I found out it was him, I was astounded."
FBI special agent Teresa Carlson said authorities were
interviewing Page's family and associates searching for a motive
behind the shooting that killed six people and seriously wounded
three, including a police officer, at the Sikh Temple of
A fourth person was wounded less seriously.
The dead were five men and one woman, aged between 39 and
84, including the president of the congregation and a priest.
Hundreds of people converged on a Sikh temple in Brookfield,
Wisconsin on Monday evening for a vigil to mourn the dead. Those
attending with uncovered heads, including Wisconsin Governor
Scott Walker, were required to cover them with predominantly
orange headscarves knotted at the back.
American Sikhs around the country added security to temples,
with some saying they have been singled out for harassment since
the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks because they are mistaken as Muslims
due to their colorful turbans and beards.
Describing how the events unfolded, Chief Edwards told
reporters the first officer on the scene found a victim in the
temple parking lot and went to render assistance. The officer
was then shot eight or nine times at very close range with a
handgun, Edwards said.
The gunman then fired on a police car, ignoring officers'
commands to drop his weapon, and was shot and killed by police.
The wounded officer was identified as Brian Murphy, 51, a
21-year veteran of the force. Even though he had been hit,
Murphy had waved away other officers coming to his aid, urging
them to go into the temple to help others, Edwards said.
Edwards said they were confident Page was a "lone gunman.
The FBI had said it was searching for a person of interest in
the case, but a law enforcement official said the person had
been located and cleared.
GUN BOUGHT LEGALLY
Officials said the weapon Page used was a Springfield 9mm
semiautomatic handgun purchased legally at The Shooter Shop, a
Milwaukee area gun store. Page emptied several magazines and
several more unused magazines were found on the scene.
Wisconsin has some of the most permissive gun laws in the
country. It passed a law in 2011 allowing citizens to carry a
President Barack Obama said Americans need to do more "soul
searching" to find ways to reduce violence.
"All of us recognize that these kinds of terrible, tragic
events are happening with too much regularity," Obama said at a
White House bill-signing ceremony when asked whether further gun
control measures were needed.
The shooting came just over two weeks after a gunman killed
12 people at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, where they were
watching a screening of the new Batman movie.
There are 500,000 or more Sikhs in the United States. The
Sikh faith is the fifth-largest in the world, with more than 30
million followers. It includes belief in one God and that life's
goal is to lead an exemplary existence.
Sikh leaders say the number of incidents of violence against
their community in the United States is growing.
At a news conference on Monday, Amardeep Kaleka said his
father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, the temple president who was
killed, represented the American Dream.
"He came over with $100 in his pocket," the son said. "He
worked his behind off, 18 hours a day in some of the worst
neighborhoods ... He became a very successful businessman."
Amardeep Singh, program director of the Sikh Coalition, said
Sikhs had become "collateral damage" in a 24-hour news machine
that uses dark-skinned, bearded, turbaned men as visual
shorthand for terrorists.