A gunman opened fire at worshippers at a Sikh temple in southern Wisconsin, killing seven and injuring three, Sunday (Aug. 5). A police officer called to the scene shot and killed the gunman who has been identified as Wade Michael Page.
The FBI who is treating Page’s shooting spree as an act of domestic terrorism, but have yet to determine a motive. The 40-year-old served in the Army from April 1992 until October 1998, when he was discharged for unspecified reasons. He purchased the 9mm semi-automatic handgun which he used to carry out the shooting, within the last 10 days.
After learning of the incident, President Obama offered his condolences. “As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship,” he said in a statement. “We are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family.”
It is believed that Page mistook the members of the Sikh temple for Muslims, and was driven to carry out the shooting in retaliation for the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Sikhism has no ties to the Islamic faith, and was originated in the 15th century in South Asian. Followed by 30 million worldwide, there are more than 500,000 who follow the religion in the United States. The population of Sikhs in Wisconsin is estimated between 2,5000 to 3,000.
Amardeep Kaleka, whose father was the president of the temple and killed in the melee, spoke with the TODAY show about his loss. “It’s hard to put into words all that’s happened in the past 14…16 hours but we’re at a breaking point [in] some ways,” Kaleka ,who was not at the temple at the time, said. He received a phone call from his brother informing him of the shooting. The priest, who stands next to his father during his sermons, got on the phone and informed Kaleka that his father was shot and bleeding profusely from his back. “I was shook at that point, ‘How bad is he bleeding?’I asked. He was saying, ‘So bad, it’s unstoppable.’”
Police searched Page’s apartment early Monday (Aug. 6) looking for clues.
The shooting comes just weeks after a gunman in Colorado killed unsuspecting moviegoers during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. The gunman in that shooting, James Holmes, was charged with 24 counts of murder.
Click below to see photos of the massacre.
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