Shooter in Sikh temple massacre IDed as neo-Nazi skinheadWisconsin News
-- The man who shot six people to death at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek before he was killed by a police officer was identified today as 40-year-old Wade Michael Page.
OAK CREEK - The man who shot six people to death at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek before he was killed by a police officer was identified today as 40-year-old Wade Michael Page.
U.S. Attorney James Santelle said Page served in the Army from 1992 until his discharge in ’98. ABC News said he was a specialist in psychological operations. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that studies hate crimes, said Page was a frustrated neo-Nazi who led a white supremacist music group called “End Apathy.” At a news conference this morning, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards identified the officer as 51-year-old Brian Murphy, a 20-year veteran of his department who led a tactical team for a number of years. He was hospitalized in critical condition this morning. The chief said Murphy was shot eight-or-nine times at close range outside the temple. And Murphy waved off other officers who tried to come to his aid, telling them instead to tend to those shot inside the
Heidi Beirich of the Poverty Law Center’s intelligence project told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that her group has been tracking Page for over 12 years – and he was an ardent follower of the white supremacist movement. Beirich said Page tried to purchase goods from a hate group called “The National Alliance.” Its leader wrote a book called “The Turner Diaries” which described an overthrow of the U.S. government and a race war. Parts of the book were found in Tim McVeigh’s getaway car after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Page spent his Army career at a number of bases, including Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, residents near Page’s duplex apartment in Cudahy were allowed to return to their homes late last night, a few hours after authorities searched the dwelling. That was about six miles from the shooting scene.
The FBI is seeking a second “person of interest” in yesterday’s shooting deaths of six people at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. A photo of the man was released this morning at a news conference. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said its reporters saw a man fitting the description at the temple – and he appeared to be shooting video of the incident. He had a 9-11 tattoo on his right arm. Authorities identified the shooter as 40-year-old Wade Michael Page of Cudahy, a six-year Army veteran who was later reportedly active in the white supremist movement. A nine-millimeter handgun was used in the slayings, and U-S Attorney James Santelle said it was believed to have been purchased legally in Wisconsin. Page was killed outside the temple in a police shootout. Officer Brian Murphy, who fired the fatal shot, was hospitalized in critical condition at last word. He was a finalist for the Oak Creek police chief’s job in 2010. Temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka was among those killed. Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said the victims ranged in age from 39-to-84. Besides the police officer, two other men wounded in the massacre were also in critical condition today. Meanwhile, Governor Scott Walker has ordered flags at half-staff at all state government facilities, to remember the killings of six worshippers at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. Walker’s order is in effect today – plus each day of the victims’ funerals.
A son of the Sikh Temple president who was murdered in Oak Creek said Americans need to learn more about different cultures. Amardeep Kaleka said on NBC’s “Today” show this morning that quote, “We need to know the nuances, because we live together.” A gunman killed worshippers just over an hour before the Sunday service was to begin. And then the gunman – who’s reported to be an Army veteran – got into a shootout with police. Fox News identified the gunman as 40-year-old Wade Page. The gunman wounded an officer before that same officer shot back and killed the gunman. Autopsies will be performed today on the seven dead people. A mile-long stretch of Howell Avenue in Oak Creek remains closed as the investigation continues. A motive for the slayings has not been determined, but some Sikh members believe it’s a hate crime. Sikh members say they’re often mistaken for Muslims – and as a result, they say they’ve been wrongly targeted as possible terrorists ever since the 9-11 attacks almost 11 years ago. According to the New York Times, threats have become so numerous against Sikh-Americans that House Democrat Joseph Crowley of New York wanted the FBI to collect data on hate crimes committed against them. Crowley chairs the Congressional Caucus on Indian-Americans. He told Attorney General Eric Holder in April that two Sikh men were murdered in Sacramento – a temple in Michigan was vandalized – and a Sikh man was beaten in New York. A handful of incidents have also been reported against Sikhs in Milwaukee.
Until yesterday, Wisconsin went almost five years without having a mass murder – and the Badger State has now had five such tragedies in the last eight years. The last one was in Crandon in October of 2007. Police officer Tyler Peterson opened fire at a homecoming party hosted by a girlfriend who refused to see him. The girl and five others were killed, and Peterson killed himself as other officers closed in on him. In June of 2007, six people died at an apartment in Delavan. Ambrosio Analco shot his estranged wife, their twin baby boys, her sister, and a friend. Analco then turned the gun on himself. In March of 2005, seven people died and four were wounded when computer technician Terry Ratzmann fired shots during a religious service at a hotel in Brookfield. Ratzmann later killed himself. And during the 2004 deer hunting season, Chai Vang killed six people and wounded two others in Sawyer County in a dispute over a tree stand. Vang is now in prison, serving six life terms plus 165 years.