The shooter who killed six people during worship services at Sikh temple in Oak Creek has been identified as Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran. He was shot and killed by a police officer at the scene.
The victims in the deadly shooting were identified as temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka, who was killed while trying to tackle the gunman; Sita Singh and Ranjit Singh, who are brothers; Subage Singh, Parmjit Kaur and Parkash Singh.
Authorities are also looking for a possible second person of interest who was spotted at the temple possibly video taping what was going on: FBI: Seeking second "person of interest" in Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting.
Page, who served in the military between 1992 and 1998, is described as "a frustrated neo-Nazi" who had been the leader of a racist white-power band. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which studies hate crimes, had apparently been tracking him for several years:
Heidi Beirich, director of the center's intelligence project, said her group had been tracking Page since 2000, when he tried to purchase goods from the National Alliance, a well-known hate group.Yes, this was a hate crime. Yes, this was an act of domestic terrorism.
The National Alliance was led by William Pierce, who was the author of "The Turner Diaries." The book depicts a violent revolution in the United States leading to an overthrow of the federal government and, ultimately, a race war. Parts of the book were found in Timothy McVeigh's getaway car after the bombing of the federal building Oklahoma City in 1995.
Beirich said there was "no question" Page was an ardent follower and believer in the white supremacist movement. She said her center had evidence that he attended "hate events" around the country.
"He was involved in the scene," she said.
Here's SAALT's (South Asian Americans Leading Together) statement regarding the Oak Creek tragedy:
STATEMENT ABOUT OAK CREEK TRAGEDY FROM SOUTH ASIAN AMERICANS LEADING TOGETHER (SAALT)Here's the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund's statement:
AUGUST 5, 2012
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred today at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. SAALT condemns the shooting that occurred Sunday morning that has left, according to news reports, 6 people and the gunman dead, at least 3 others in critical condition, and many others injured. We extend our deepest sympathy to the victims, who included priests, congregants, and law enforcement personnel, and their loved ones.
Details regarding the motivation of the perpetrator are currently unknown. Law enforcement, including local police and the FBI, is investigating the incident as an act of domestic terrorism.
While the facts are still emerging, this event serves as a tragic reminder of violence in the form of hate crimes that Sikhs and many members of the South Asian community have frequently endured since September 11th, 2001.
SAALT is in touch with the White House and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as with Sikh organizations and community groups within and outside the South Asian community. We will continue to monitor this situation and send out alerts. Please contact us at email@example.com to provide or obtain information.
Statement of SALDEF and the Sikh American community on the tragic events at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, WisconsinHere's the Asian American Journalists Association's advisory on coverage of the Sikh temple shooting:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the Oak Creek community following this tragic attack at the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurdwara. The Sikh American community, like all Americans, is shocked after this attack. We mourn the loss of those killed today and pray for the swift recovery of the those injured, including the veteran police officer who put himself in harms way to protect his community.
Houses of worship, like the gurdwara, are places of peace. Attacks at any of the nation’s houses of worship must be condemned by all Americans. This type of crime strikes at the very foundation of religious tolerance, the principle upon which this country was built.
We thank our friends and neighbors from across the country for the outpouring of support and condolences as we come together to recover from the attack."
Media Advisory on Coverage of Sikh Temple ShootingThe investigation is still ongoing. Meanwhile, an IndieGoGo campaign has sprouted up to raise money to support the families of the victims and police officers who were wounded or killed at the temple shooting. As I write this, it has already raised over $20,000.
The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) wishes to express our condolences after the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Here are a few guidelines for organizations reporting on this tragedy:
- The word "Sikh," according to multiple dictionaries, is pronounced "seek." However, adherents of the faith use the pronunciation “sik-kh” (“kh” pronounced as in “Mikhail”).
- A Sikh temple is also called a "gurdwara" (pronounced GOORD-war-ah).
- Sikhism is the fifth largest world religion and was founded in 1469 in South Asia. It is a monotheistic religion.
- There are 25 million to 30 million Sikhs around the world, most of them in India. According to the Sikh Coalition, about 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States.
- Observant Sikh men are religiously mandated to wear dastaars (Sikh turbans) and maintain unshorn hair (including facial hair). Observant Sikh women are also religiously mandated to maintain uncut hair.
Separately, donations can also be sent to:
Victims Memorial Fund
c/o Sikh Temple
7512 S. Howell Ave.
Oak Creek, WI 53154