Last Updated:October 1 @ 06:07 pm

Officials Identify gunman in Sikh temple shooting

By Dinesh Ramde and Todd Richmond

OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) -- Officials on Monday identified the gunman they say killed six people inside a Sikh temple in Wisconsin as a 40-year-old Army veteran.

First Assistant U.S. Greg Haanstad in the U.S. Attorney's office in Milwaukee identified the shooter, who was shot and killed by police outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, as Wade Michael Page. The ex-Army man was reduced in rank before his discharge about 12 years ago, according to a defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information yet about the suspect.

The official told The Associated Press Page that Page entered the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998. The official said the man had been busted in rank from sergeant to specialist, but gave no reason.

When the gunfire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee ended Sunday, seven people lay dead, including the gunman, and three others were critically wounded in what police called an act of domestic terrorism.

Satpal Kaleka, wife of the temple's president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was in the front room and saw the gunman enter the temple, according to Harpreet Singh, their nephew.

"He did not speak, he just began shooting," said Singh, relaying a description of the attack from Satpal Kaleka.

Kaleka said the 6-foot-tall bald white man - who worshippers said they had never before seen at the temple - seemed like he had a purpose and knew where he was going.

Authorities have not provided further details about Page nor suggested a possible motive, including whether he specifically targeted the Sikh temple.

Note: AP's previous story on the shootings can be found below.
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OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) - As worshippers prayed and meditated at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday morning, about a dozen women were preparing food in the temple kitchen for a meal after services which are open to community members, regardless of religious affiliation.

Then the shooting started, sending terrified congregants scrambling for cover.

When the gunfire finally ended in a shootout between a gunman and police outside the temple in suburban Milwaukee, seven people lay dead, including the suspect, and three others were critically wounded in what police called an act of domestic terrorism.

Satpal Kaleka, wife of the temple's president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was in the front room and saw the gunman enter the temple, according to Harpreet Singh, their nephew.

"He did not speak, he just began shooting," said Singh, relaying a description of the attack from Satpal Kaleka.

Kaleka said the 6-foot-tall bald white man - who worshippers said they had never before seen at the temple - seemed like he had a purpose and knew where he was going.

Federal authorities described the suspect as a white man in his 40s, but neither provided further details nor suggested a possible motive, including whether he specifically targeted the Sikh temple.

"We never thought this could happen to our community," said Devendar Nagra, 48, of Mount Pleasant, whose sister escaped injury by hiding as the gunman fired in the temple's kitchen. "We never did anything wrong to anyone."

Late Sunday, the investigation appeared to move beyond the temple as police, federal agents and the county sheriff's bomb squad swarmed a neighborhood in nearby Cudahy, evacuated several homes and searched a duplex. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Tom Ahern said warrants were being served at the gunman's home.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said police expected to release more information Monday. He said the FBI will lead the investigation because the shootings are being treated as domestic terrorism, or an attack that originated inside the U.S.

"While the FBI is investigating whether this matter might be an act of domestic terrorism, no motive has been determined at this time," Teresa Carlson, Special Agent in Charge with the agency's Milwaukee division, said in a statement Sunday night.

During a chaotic few hours after the first shots were fired around 10:30 a.m., police in tactical gear and carrying assault rifles surrounded the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin with armored vehicles and ambulances. Witnesses struggled with unrealized fears that several shooters were holding women and children hostage inside.

Edwards said the gunman "ambushed" one of the first officers to arrive at the temple as the officer, a 20-year veteran with tactical experience, tended to a victim outside. A second officer then exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was fatally shot. Police had earlier said the officer who was shot killed the suspected shooter.

The wounded officer was in critical condition along with two other victims Sunday night, authorities said. Police said the officer was expected to survive.

Tactical units went through the temple and found four people dead inside and two outside, in addition to the shooter.

Jatinder Mangat, 38, of Racine, another nephew of the temple's president, said his uncle was among those shot, but he didn't know the extent of his injuries. When Mangat later learned people had died, he said "it was like the heart just sat down."

Gurpreet Kaur, 24, of Oak Creek, said her mother was among a group of about 14 other women preparing a meal in the temple kitchen when the gunman entered and started firing. Kaur said her mother felt two bullets fly by her as the group fled to the pantry. Her mother suffered what Kaur thought was shrapnel wound in her foot.

"These are people I've grown up with," she said. "They're like aunts and uncles to me. To see our community to go through something like this is numbing."

Many Sikhs in the U.S. worship on Sundays at a temple, or gurdwara, and a typical service consists of meditation and singing in a prayer room where worshippers remove their shoes and sit on the floor. Worshippers gather afterward for a meal that is open to the entire community.

Kaur said she spent the afternoon serving as a translator between law enforcement and survivors at a nearby bowling alley. Police investigators kept witnesses inside the bowling alley's basement into the evening.

"We don't even know who's downstairs," Ravi P. Singh, 25, of Greenfield, said after going to the bowling alley to see if he could get more information about what had happened.

Sixteen-year-old LeRon Bridges, of Oak Creek, works at the bowling alley said police brought people from the temple over in two armored trucks. At one point, about 50 to 60 people were at the bowling alley, including police officers questioning witnesses and paramedics treating victims' wounds, he said.

"They were just hysterical," Bridges said. "There were kids. One big load came out of the truck."

Sikhism is a monotheistic faith founded more than 500 years ago in South Asia. It has roughly 27 million followers worldwide. Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair; male followers often cover their heads with turbans - which are considered sacred - and refrain from shaving their beards. There are roughly 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S., according to estimates. The majority worldwide live in India.

The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin started in 1997 with about 25 families who gathered in community halls in Milwaukee. Construction on the current temple in Oak Creek began in 2006, according to the temple's website.

Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in bias attacks since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the U.S. since 9/11, which advocates blame on anti-Islamic sentiment. Sikhs are not Muslims, but their long beards and turbans often cause them to be mistaken for Muslims, advocates say.

Police in New York and Chicago issued statements saying they were giving Sikh temples in those cities additional attention as a precaution after the shooting, which also came two weeks after a gunman killed 12 people at movie theater in Colorado.

Valarie Kaur, who chronicled violence against Sikh Americans in the 2006 documentary "Divided We Fall," was returning to her home in New Haven, Conn., after speaking at a White House conference Friday when she heard about the shootings.

Even though the gunman's motives were a mystery Sunday, Kaur said the shootings reopened wounds in a community whose members have found themselves frequent targets of hate-based attacks since Sept. 11.

"We are experiencing it as a hate crime," she said. "Every Sikh American today is hurting, grieving and afraid."

Associated Press writers Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee; Patrick Condon in Minneapolis; Sophia Tareen and Michelle Janaye Nealy in Chicago; and Larry Neumeister in New York contributed to this report.

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GOPUSA Editor's Note: Here's what the British press is reporting.

Congress warned Eric Holder's Department of Justice about violence against the Sikh community months ago. Read it here.

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15 Comments

  1. annelgelinasComment by annelgelinas
    August 6, 2012 @ 8:51 am

    I pray for the lives of those lost in another senseless shooting. We are getting more and more sickness in our society. Of course we are the “melting pot” of the world and always have been. We may not be able to stop every mad or sick person from abusing others in any way, but the majority of us can pray with our fellowmen and women and join in to help them recover from this tragedy. God Bless all involved.

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    • BobinmsComment by Bobinms
      August 6, 2012 @ 10:46 am

      The problem is we haven’t “melted”.

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      Rating: 4.6/5 (9 votes cast)
    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      August 6, 2012 @ 10:56 am

      I am glad to have not been “melted”.

      A very liberal government professor, lectured on the crock of the melting pot…, stunning his liberal minions in the class. Had never thought of that, as that is all of the garbage that is ever pressed into our heads.

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  2. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    August 6, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    What amazes me is that they are calling the shooting in Wisconsin, domestic terrorism but the lousy ******* that killed all the soldiers in Ft. Hood Texas, work place violence? How in the hell does this happen?

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      August 6, 2012 @ 10:37 am

      The shooting in Texas, on a military base, by a MUSLIM, is NOT the correct story that is desired for us Sheeple to hear about, thus, workplace violence. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.

      Poor poor Sikhs in India, I mean, ah, Wisconsin, being shot, now that is hate, the correct hate to condemn, to call as terrorism. It is a tragedy, it is murder, it is sad, but it will be used! Recall, that the LEFT tried to tie the killer in Aurora Colorado, to the Tea Party! Correct narrative. Information that murderer Holmes, “the Joker”, played with the Occupy Wall Street Movement, well, that will not be investigated, will not see the light of day, if it is true.

      And I am curious. Just why is it that Wisconsin is now becoming a suburb of India? Just who is doing the, We are the World, transformation of the United States? There is the suicidal, serious hate crime.

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  3. BobinmsComment by Bobinms
    August 6, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    The headline on ABC’s website yesterday regarding the Wisconsin shooting was “White Supremest blah, blah” even though they didn’t even know his name and nothing in the write up related to the supremest headline. I notice that today it’s gone. Somebody needs to be fired for that.

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      August 6, 2012 @ 11:00 am

      Just like the “trusted news veteran” a fellow reporter of Bill O’Reilly, bla bla bla, tried to smear the Tea Party, NOTHING happened for the blatant, in your face, ugly slandering.

      There might be a personal lawsuit, but we will not hear about it.

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  4. jayleighComment by jayleigh
    August 6, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    Wisconsin a suburb of India? i have no idea what you mean by that. But, in America, one is free (or should be) to worship whichever god they believe can save them. That means that if people emigrate here, they are free to worship as they choose. The U.S. Constitution mandates that. As a Christian, i am sad that these murdered people went into eternity without the Savior. But, as an American, i also decry this outrage as a smear on our good name and our U.S. Constitutional guarantees of freedom OF religion! This country IS made up of emigrants. My grandmother was born in England in 1872 and emigrated to the US when she was 2 years old. My great-great grandparents were born in Scotland and Wales. At some point, someone emigrated here so that some of my progenitors were born here and i was born an American citizen. i find your comment about “suburb of India” to be totally racist and un-American. This should be a melting pot, and unfortunately, it has become the world’s ghetto-land instead of amalgamating refugees into the culture, sharing with them the good news of Jesus Christ, and it is comments like yours that keep people from hearing what mission-minded people have to say!

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      August 6, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

      I find your understanding of the Founding Fathers and American History muddled as much as the whole melting pot mythology. They, The Founders, would instantly side with me.

      The whole notion of operating a Representative Republic, NOT a democracy, also included the well thought out understanding that The People could not be too dissimilar. There was NO desire to have vastly alien religions too. If my pointing this out, offends you, so be it. Freedom of Speech is not about freedom from being offended.

      In fact, Christianity played solidly with The Founders, in the necessity of having a moral people, for the whole system to work. In their time, they had no idea just how mangled up religion would become, how those without religion, would impose their “standards” on all, and how alien The People would become. Jefferson had a copy of the Koran, why? So that he could come to know the enemy, from afar.

      There was NO notion of a “melting pot” in any Constitutional anything. Franklin was worried about having too many Germans! Why? For that matter, The Declaration of Independence implies, a unalienable right for separation of a people.

      As you yourself, being “mission minded” pointed out that in a, ah, racist way, that The Republic is a kind of “ghetto-land”. Sadly this is all becoming at a rapid pace, all too true, in many areas, with walled in communities and a police state mentality, for security… .

      The Founders were well versed in the history of FAILED nations, like, well, ROME. Their fear that the Republic could follow ROME guided them in their observations, and the framing of The Constitution in constraining central power from achieving a tyranny over The People.

      Guess you grabbed the high ground by throwing out the “racist” word, but that is but trump junk for any debate. Obama and his minions, use that all of the time, to put people in their place. Sit down, shut up. It is people like me, that dare to be graced by names, to speak up. When people like me, are shuffled out to concentration camps or worse, “mission minded” people like you, will be there too.

      The day is not too far away, so it would seem. I’ll smuggle in a chess set.

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  5. jimpeelComment by jimpeel
    August 6, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    Once again a mentally deficient idiot goes to a place where he knows he will encounter disarmed sheep to slaughter. Gun free zones are slaughterhouses for those with aberrant intentions.

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  6. prairelivingComment by praireliving
    August 6, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    My heart and prayers go out to the families of the victims of this senseless attack. Unfortunately, they are but the latest victims of such actions. If they were attacked for their faith they join the growing numbers of various faiths, but especially Christians, throughout the world who are being attacked during worship services by those who disagree with the tenets of their faith.

    There is so much unknown at this time…what was the motive for the shooting being just the first. The speculation by the press and the many theories being thrown around do nothing for anyone but encite anger and racial divisions. This will also become yet another arrow in the quiver of the gun control advocates to encourage the destruction of our 2nd Ammendment rights.

    The fact is that people who wish to perpetrate evil will find a way, there is hate in this world, and people with mental issues have ways of acting on their irrational thoughts to the detriment of others. It has been this was throughout history and will continue in the future, sadly.

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  7. Eddie GComment by Eddie G
    August 6, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    I’ve made commentary elsewhere of the rash of shootings occuring since Oboy took office. Now remember,Oboy did say on TV one eve during his first campaign,”We must disarm” and he wasn’t talking about the military OK? He needed incidents to drive his anti gun agenda home. So, we have a nut case shooting in Arizona leaving a congresswoman shot,we’ve Fast n’ Furious I with two fed agents dead, on the cusp of the U.N./Hillary Gun Confiscation Treaty we have more dead to drive home the need for the treaty signing and now even moreso with Wisconsin. Looks like we have Fast n’ Furious II and why not? Eric Holder hasn’t been canned yet has he? Let’s not forget Oboy’s hometown of Chicago where the murder rate is soaring because law abiding citizens are disarmed. So rabid is this President’s anti gun agenda that he and his AG are stopping at nothing no matter how high the body count,to get that treaty eventually ratified for signing. Every dictator in history has disarmed the country first to establish a never ending regime. Castro did it in Cuba and look how long he’s been around. Oboy has his allies in Schumer,McCarthy,Boxer,Feinstein,Reid,Pelosi, et al who are only to happy to lend their support because they obviously don’t care about the body count neither. The Agenda rules and that’s all that matters. These same people support Planned Parenthood where the daily body count of murdered unborn babies is higher than any nutcase shooting. Just connect the dots.

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      August 6, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

      I think it was good old, Uncle Joe Stalin, that mummered that a single death was a tragedy, a thousand…, JUST statistics. Uncle Joe, made lots of statistics as he had to.

      And time and again, I have heard the LEFT talk about, “breaking eggs to make an omelet”. They should share what they mean on The Food Network?

      And Che Guevara? He liked to have his drinks watching the executions. He makes people look so classy in their snappy tee shirts. His own execution, he did not look so snappy.

      Recall, that an undercover agent was told by some of Obama’s pals, that some 30 million people would have be liquidated, IF they could achieve total power. What is this, a sale?

      To achieve total power, you must make The People, into submissive SUBJECTS of Das Stat. Taking in submissive people helps, but that takes time. They, The People, MUST be disarmed to speed up the process. Case in point, King George found that his Royal Soldiers, were, well, shot at by jove, when they came to take arms, arrest traitors, at Lexington & Concord. I know, I know, a forgotten, politically insensitive event to mention.

      Again, the Aurora shooting, the shooter, was at first immediate, well trained journalist blush, a Tea Party member. And again, Orange Haired Holmes, seems to, might just actually have an Occupy Wall Street, affinity. We might never know the truth, as that is not the correct narrative. Those dots are not meant for us to connect, but there are enough dots to make one large tapestry.

      Must take up sewing as a full time hobby!

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  8. MarvComment by Marv
    August 6, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

    The tragedy is many idiots vote party over country.

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  9. lwessonComment by lwesson
    August 6, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    The Left has gotten it’s wish finally. The gone postal shooter, was an ex-US Army Sargent, and a band leader of a skin head, neo-nazi musical group. His affiliations will be gone over with a fine toothed comb, unlike Obama and his loyal worker minions.

    As The Government has described former military as potential terrorists, this is a perfect combination for the LEFT/MEDIA/Government to exploit. I guess it would have been more perfect, if this guy had been a Tea Party Member, as advocates for Hitler, are, well, so over the top, but then, you have the Castro, Che, Trotsky… fan club, you know, the good guys.

    The LEFT will just have to make do with what it has to exploit, on this tragedy of murdering peaceful Sikhs.

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