Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting: Gunman, victims identified
PACOIMA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The suspected gunman in the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting was identified Monday as Wade Michael Page.
Defense officials told ABC News that Page served in the Army from April 1992 to October 1998 out of Milwaukee. He served as a Hawk missile system repairman at Fort Bragg in North Carolina before becoming a psychological operations specialist.
Officials say Page left the Army in 1998 for a "pattern of misconduct." He reportedly left with a "general discharge under honorable conditions" that did not allow him to re-enlist in the future. He also had received administrative punishment in June 1998 for an incident where he had been AWOL while drunk on duty.
The six shooting victims have also been identified. They are:
- Bhai Seeta Singh
- Bhai Parkash Singh
- Bhai Ranjit Singh
- Satwant Singh Kaleka
- Subegh Singh
- Parmjit Kaur Toor
The names were posted on the Facebook page of the United Sikh.
The six were shot Sunday at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., just south of Milwaukee. The gunman opened fire with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and ambushed an officer, police said. A second officer shot and killed the gunman. Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said those killed included a 41-year-old woman and five men. The gun used in the shooting was purchased legally, officials said.
Doctors at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin said Monday afternoon that three gunshot victims remain alive and in critical condition. Those victims include Santokh Singh and Police Lt. Brian Murphy. The hospital did not have permission to speak about the third victim. Murphy had undergone two surgeries after being shot eight to nine times.
Authorities were investigating whether Page was a white supremacist. Witnesses said he had a Sept. 11 tattoo on one of his arms. He was described as a bald white man about 40 years old. Edwards called the shooting an act of "domestic terrorism."
"We have a lot of information to decipher, put it all together, before we can positively tell you what that motive is," Edwards said.
Investigators said Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names like Definite Hate and End Apathy. The Southern Poverty Law Center said it had tracked Page for more than 10 years as he moved through skinhead circles.
Page wrote frequently on white supremacist websites, describing himself as a member of the "Hammerskins Nation," a skinhead group rooted in Texas that has offshoots in Australia and Canada, according to the SITE Monitoring Service, a Maryland-based private intelligence firm that searches the Internet for terrorist and other extremist activity.
Authorities were looking for a person of interest who appeared at the scene of the shooting and left before anyone could figure out why he was there. But according to two federal law enforcement officials, that unidentified person has since been located, interviewed and ruled out in connection with the incident.
Sikhs are not Muslim or Hindu, but because of their turbans and long beards they have been the target of hate crimes and discrimination, especially since Sept. 11.
"Every time I go to temple, I'm going to think of this," said Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, a member of the Oak Creek temple. "That's the case. I have to think of a tragedy. I'm supposed to be able to focus my thoughts on God and loving my community and loving people."
The Sikh community in Southern California has expressed concern about the tragedy. At a Sikh youth camp in Pacoima, extra prayers were said for the victims and the gunman. During the prayer time, a leader told participants of the youth camp to remember that the gunman "is also a child of God."
Those gathering for the camp this week do not want to respond with anger or fear, but precautions are still being taken and security is being stepped up.
"This only encourages us more to go out and educate others about our religion, to eliminate any confusion and to just spread the word of peace and love," said Pari Kaur, a Sikh community member.
A memorial and prayer service open to the community was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Sikh Gurdawara of Los Angeles in Pacoima.
Those at the Gurdwara of Los Angeles in North Hollywood say a preacher who had been visiting for the last two months was at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek at the time of the shooting. They say he was one of the victims.
"I heard that he has passed away in the shooting, which is so tragic, and we are mourning, and we are in touch with his family in India to how to take care of this in the time of such a sad moment," said Gurcharan Bans with the Sikh Gurdwara of Los Angeles.
Members of the Gurdwara in North Hollywood have been patrolling the facility since the shooting occurred as an extra precaution.
ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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