Sikh Temple Shooting Update: Law Enforcement Suspected Wade Michael Page, Wisconsin Shooter Before Temple Massacre
Aug 07, 2012 02:09 PM EDT
In a new development in unraveling the case of Wade Michael Page, the alleged gunman who opened fire in a SikhTemple in Wisconsin, killing seven people, police said that the 40-year-old U.S. veteran came under the attention of the FBI a couple of times for his affiliation with radical white supremacist groups. A federal law enforcement officer told The Los Angeles Times Now that he was also suspected of providing funds to terrorist groups, but lacked conclusive evidence to open investigations.
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On Sunday, Page opened fire in a Sikh Temple in Oak Tree, Wisconsin, where he fired at over two dozen people. According to reports by NBC News and ABC News, Page is being described as a "white supremacist" or "skinhead." Authorities confirmed to NBC News that he was "some kind of radical" with "white supremacist views."
Page has been identified as a member of a racist organization called Skinhead Band Apathy in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He joined the organization in 2010, but has showed racist proclivity from much earlier than that, in 2000, according to Director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, Page purchased items from a neo-Nazi group called National Alliance.
Now neighbors and colleagues are talking to the media about the veteran, mainly painting a picture of a lonely quite man, who often expressed his prejudice of other races and ethnicities, but no one ever thought any such violence act would manifest from his bigotry.
One officer, who served with Page in the army, told Pierce Morgan in a CNN interview, "He would often mention the racial holy war that was coming...And you know, we just looked at it as he was trying to get attention to himself. Because he was always the loner type of person. Even in a group of people, he would be off alone," according to CNN News.
Another neighbor told the Guardian that Page was "creepy," telling the U.K. based paper "I stayed away from him," (www.guardian.co.uk.)
Police confirm that Page served in the U.S. army prior to the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The presumption among FBI and Police is that Page, like many others, mistook Sikhs for being Muslims. Sikhism is an off-shoot of the Hindu religion; it is the fifth largest sect of faith in the world. Sikhs come mainly from Punjab, located in Northern India. A typical Sikh man can be seen wearing a turban and a long beard, while many Sikh women can be seen covering their heads with a scarf.
Never the less, an attack on innocent civilians is an attack regardless of the demography. FBI, who are leading the investigation are treating the case as a "domestic terrorism" incident.
According to CNN News, the suspect was found in possession of two semi-automatic handguns. The police department refused to give details of the weapons recovered on the spot. Now police reveal that an apartment located in the area of Cudahy near Milwaukee is suspected to be the residence of the alleged shooter. Police, along with a bomb squad are working to clear the residence for further evidence.
Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker said he was working with enforcement authorities and said "Our hearts go out to the victims and their families as we all struggle to comprehend the evil that begets this terrible violence," according to a statement released on Yahoo News.