BREAKING

08.05.12

Wisconsin Shooting: 7 Dead at Sikh Temple

In an incident police called 'domestic terrorism,' a gunman shot and killed six people at in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, before a police officer returned fire. Read more updates here. 

Press Conference
Authorities say the deceased in the shooting were ages 29 to 84. The suspected gunman shot the first officer to respond 8 to 9 times with a handgun. See a mugshot of the suspected shooter.

SPLC Reports Suspect Was in White Power Band
Wade Michael Page, the alleged shooter of seven people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday, was the leader of the neo-Nazi music group End Apathy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole,” Page said in a 2010 interview with Label 56, which the SPLC identified as a “white supremacist website.” Page said he wanted to “figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways.” He had been involved in white-power music since 2000, Page said in the interview.

Shooter ID'ed as Wade Michael Page
Police identified the suspect in the Wisconsin shooting that killed six as Wade Michael Page on Monday - Page was killed by first responders outside the temple on Sunday. A law-enforcement source told CNN that the shooter was an Army veteran, and police searched a duplex in nearby Cudahy on Sunday for clues. The shooter reportedly only lived at the address in Cudahy for two weeks before the deadly shooting. “Nobody has really seen him,” a neighbor told CBS. “We heard here and there that they’ve been doing a lot of arguing, between him and another female, but I haven’t seen him.” The shootings are being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism, and the FBI will take the lead on the case, local law enforcement said Sunday.

Police Reveal Shooting Details
A press briefing held by the police department has brought new information to light about the Sunday shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple. Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards confirmed there are seven dead and three injured, and says he believes there was only one gunman involved. Edwards also revealed that there was a second police officer involved in the shooting, not just the one originally reported. He was the first to arrive at the scene and was attending to the victim he found outside when the suspect began to fire at him. A second officer then arrived, shooting and killing the suspect after he too was fired upon. The first officer is currently in the hospital and in critical condition. The FBI will be taking over the criminal investigation and treating the shooting as a domestic terrorist incident.

Authorities Say 7 Dead
At least 7 people were killed in the gunfire, according to local police. Bradley Wentlandt, the police chief of a nearby town, told the media that the officer who first arrived at the temple had "put down" the shooter but was shot multiple times and had been taken to the hospital. Wentlandt said four people had been found dead inside the temple and three more were found outside.

Police Respond to Shooting
Around 10:30 a.m., local police responded to reports of gunfire at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee. The first officer to arrive on the scene engaged and was shot at least three times. Police say he is expected to survive. A SWAT team entered the building an hour later to remove victims and witnesses reported hearing an explosion inside the temple.

New Information Emerges

According to a new NBC news report from the ground, the gunman entered through the kitchen, then entered an office area where temple members were preparing for services and began shooting. The first police officer arrived on the scene within two minutes of emergency calls. One witness says his father—the president of the temple­—attacked the gunman and was wounded in the scuffle. Sunday was also reportedly a special holy day for the Sikh community, with the temple welcoming a guest priest from India, who may be among the victims. Witnesses in a nearby neighborhood are saying police have surrounded a duplex in a residential area that could be connected to the shooting. CNN is also reporting that two semiautomatic handguns were used in the attack.

Officials Describe The Suspect

A spokesman at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Chicago said the suspected shooter was a white male around 40 years old. According to NBC News,officials say the gunman had no obvious connection to terror or supremacy groups, though likely had some similar views. He had an arrest record only for minor traffic offenses, had reportedly served in the U.S. Army and had many tattoos.

At Least Three Victims Admitted to the Hospital
Three men with gunshot wounds were taken to Froedtert Hospital, said a spokeswoman for the region's main trauma center. One had been shot in the face and extremities, while another was shot in the stomach and a third was being evaluated. All three are reported to be in critical condition. The temple's president, Satwant Kaleka, was reported to be among the victims.

sikh-temple-shooting3
Jeffrey Phelps / AP Photo

More than One Shooter?
Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt could not disclose information on the shooter. “We don’t know if there are additional shooters inside the temple,” he said. “The situation is very fluid. Tactical operations are ongoing.” Local news agencies say there could have been two or more shooters involved. The president of the Wisconsin Sikh Society told CNN that temple attendees, including children, were being held hostage inside the temple by a second shooter.

Witness Reports Trickle Out
As outsiders make contact with family inside the temple, eyewitness details about the shooting are beginning to emerge. The niece of one of the wounded men said a number of gunmen entered the temple's kitchen before they began shooting. She said her mother told her that the shooters were Caucasian males. Another man whose father was wounded corroborated, saying there were multiple white male shooters and the attack seemed to be well coordinated. Police say they are still unsure whether there were multiple gunman.

Authorities Surround Nearby House

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a team of law enforcement surrounded a nearby home in the suburban neighborhood of Cudahy. The area is about 5 miles from Oak Creek, where the attack took place. Police have roped off a four-block radius in the neighborhood, and ordered several residents in the area to evacuate. Neighbors said representatives from the Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had entered the house and blocked off the surrounding streets. It hasn't been confirmed whether this is related to the shooting yet.

White House Releases Obama Briefing

The White House Press Office has issued a statement about President Obama's knowledge and involvement in the aftermath of the shooting. It reads:

"At 4:30 p.m. EDT, the president convened a call with FBI Director Bob Mueller, Chief of Staff Jack Lew, and Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan to receive an update on the tragic shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Following that briefing, the President called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi and trustee of the Sikh Temple Charanjeet Singh to express his condolences for the lives lost and his concern for those who were injured.

During the briefing, the president was informed that the situation at the Sikh Temple was under control and that the lone gunman was killed by an Oak Creek police officer. The President also was updated on the condition of some of the victims of the attack, and he directed that the federal government assist as appropriate in the investigation into the shooting. The President said that he wanted to make sure that as we denounce this senseless act of violence we also underscore how much our country has been enriched by our Sikh Community, who are an integral part of our broader American family."

President Obama, Mitt Romney Release Statements
President Obama expressed his condolences to victims of the temple shooting, releasing a statement promising support to the community and praising the American Sikhs for their contributions to the nation. "At this difficult time, the people of Oak Creek must know that the American people have them in our thoughts and prayers, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded,” Obama said. “My administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting and moving forward with an investigation. As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family.”

Video screenshot

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney also responded to news of the shooting with thoughts and prayers from him and his wife, Ann. “This was a senseless act of violence and a tragedy that should never befall any house of worship. Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and the entire Oak Creek Sikh community. We join Americans everywhere in mourning those who lost their lives and in prayer for healing in the difficult days ahead.”