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Sikh Temple Gunman's Bloody Shooting Rampage

A worship service, whether in a church, synagogue or temple is not the place where you would expect a gunman to go on a blooding shooting rampage in the United States. However, that is exactly what happened at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin that is located in the suburb of Oak Creek near Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Sunday morning, August 5, 2012.

A short while before services started, 40-year-old Army veteran Wade Michael Page walked into the temple and began to open fire with a 9 mm pistol. Before the Sikh Temple gunman’s bloody shooting rampage was over, he fatally shot six people, one of whom was the temple President Satwant Singh Kaleka. President Kaleka was shot as he tried to fend off the shooter with a butter knife.

Police were called to respond to the bloody shooting rampage. Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said that the suspect ambushed and opened fire on a 20 year veteran police officer who was attending to a victim at the scene. The suspected gunman was then shot by another police officer in the stomach. Edwards said the police officer stopped a tragic event that could have been much worse.

Self-inflicted gunshot

However, Page was not killed by the police officer. Investigators who reviewed videotape said that Page died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after he was shot in the stomach by the police officer.

Page was a native of Littleton, Colorado. He was demoted during his time in the Army because of getting drunk while on duty and going AWOL before his discharge in 1998. Page also had a record of minor alcohol related crimes in Colorado, North Carolina and Texas. He moved to Wisconsin, where he lived in South Milwaukee with a girlfriend. Page worked third-shift at a brazing factory in Cudahy, which is another suburb of Milwaukee.

The Southern Poverty Law Center described Page as a “frustrated neo-Nazi.” He played in far-right, white-power punk bands that were named End Apathy and Definite Hate.

Act of domestic terrorism

The FBI has classified the shooting rampage as an act of domestic terrorism, a violent act for political or social gain. Investigators are still looking for the motive behind the bloody shooting rampage. They are sifting through the life of the suspected gunman, putting together the life of a man who had a spotty work history, a thin criminal record and apparently few relatives.

They are interviewing friends, associates and Page’s family. On Monday morning, agents went from door-to-door on the street where Page lived. They talked with Page’s neighbors on their front porches and in their backyards.

If investigators determine that Page simply had a personal grudge, the Sikh community and the rest of the public will have an answer as to why the shooting rampage took place. On the other hand, if agents reach a conclusion that Page was motivated by racist ideology, it could help the FBI collect intelligence on white supremacist groups, accomplices and help prevent future attacks.

For the Sikh community, however, they are left with questions that may never be answered as to why the bloody shooting rampage took place against them, at that temple, at that time. There will be no trial to reveal the motive because suspected gunman Wade Michael Page is dead.