Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Six Killed After Gunman Opens Fire on Worshippers at Sikh Temple in Wisconsin

Police in suburban Milwaukee were called to a Sikh temple where services were underway when a gunman barged into the grounds and opened fire on worshippers on Sunday.

The gunman, identified as 40 year old Wade Micheal Page, entered the grounds of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday and began shooting at the gathered congregants, killing six and wounding two. When local police arrived, Page shot officer Brian Murphy nine times as he attended to one of the victims in the Temple's parking lot. As more officers arrived, Page began shooting at them after being ordered to drop his weapon. Oak Creek PD Officer Sam Leda returned fire with a police-issue rifle, fatally wounding Page.

Page had served in the US Army up until the late 1990s and worked as a truck driver until two years ago when he was pulled over for driving while impaired in North Carolina. In addition to his alcohol abuse and financial problems, Page was also active with white supremacist organizations. This included playing bass guitar with white supremacist heavy metal bands and travelling to a Georgia festival known as 'Hammerfest' which the Anti-Defamation League has called "a virtual Woodstock of hate rock".

Among some of the unlikely heroes from Sunday's rampage are the temple's president, 62 year old Satwant Singh Kaleka, who reportedly confronted Page with nothing more than a kitchen knife before being shot twice. Kaleka's actions were said to have bought enough time for other worshippers to flee to relative safety.

Some worshippers were also warned of Page's arrival by two children who were playing near a window in another part of temple while waiting for their parents to return from a nearby market with bread and juice for a communal lunch when they saw Page walking outside. They heard a popping that they thought might've been firecrackers until they saw people outside crumpled over. The two unnamed children then ran to the temple's communal kitchen where they warned the women there that there was a man with a gun outside. Although they were skeptical at first, everybody in the kitchen took shelter inside the kitchen's pantry when they heard what sounded like gunfire coming from inside the building.

Those killed in the attack include Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Suveg Singh Khattra, 84; Prakash Singh, 39; Paramjit Kaur, 41 and 62 year old temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka.

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