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Updated: 7 Killed in Wisconsin Shooting at Sikh Temple. by Isaac Matson


CNN and the Associated Press are reporting that at approximately 1030 am CDT, a single gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, and killed six worshippers before he himself was shot and killed by police.



Police outside of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. 
Updated Thursday, August 9, 12:08 am PST:
The gunman, an unidentified male, opened fire in the parking lot of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, killing two before entering the building and killing four more congregants. He then ambushed first responders, wounding one police officer as he tended to a victim before being shot and killed by another police officer, reports the Associated Press. Two other congregants were wounded during the attack and are in critical condition in area hospitals.  Earlier it was reported that the wounded officer was responsible for downing the suspect, but later reports indicate that a second officer shot and killed the gunman. The wounded officer is in critical condition and is expected to survive according to the Associated Press. CNN reported that he is a 20 year veteran of the police force. 

A single 9mm handgun was recovered at the scene, according to CNN, and is believed to be the only weapon used by the shooter.
 
There were early reports of a second gunman, according to Slate and Reuters. Oak Creek
Police Chief John Edwards said that reports of multiple gunmen were common in incidents involving a single shooter, saying “We believe there was one but we can’t be sure”, according to Reuters.
 

The shooter’s identity has yet to be released. According to CNN, Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the ATF’s Chicago division, said that the suspect was a white male, approximately 40 years old and had no previous connection to the temple.Witnesses described the shooter as a bald white man wearing black pants and a tee shirt and having a 9/11 tattoo on one arm. 

No details on motive have been released. Authorities said they will have more information  tomorrow, according to the Associated Press.


The shooting is being treated as an incident of “domestic terrorism” and the FBI is taking the lead in the investigation, reports the Associated Press. Teresa Carlson, Special Agent in Charge, said in a statement earlier tonight, “While the FBI is investigating whether this matter might be an act of terrorism, no motive has been determined at this time.”


Surinder Singh, a spokesman for the Guru Nanak Mission of Atlanta, told CNN that “because of their customary beards and turbans, Sikh men are often confused for Hindus or Muslims - and have been the targets of hate crimes since the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.”  Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, a member of the congregation and nephew of its president, also told CNN, “So far most of the people I’ve heard have been shot and killed were all turbaned males.”  He added that maybe that was because “the ladies were fortunate enough to dodge it out.” 




According to Reuters, “the Sikh faith is the fifth-largest in the world, with more than 30 million followers. It includes belief in one God and that the goal of life is to lead an exemplary existence.The temple in Oak Creek was founded in October 1997 and has a congregation of 350 to 400 people. There are an estimated 500,000 or more Sikhs in the United States.”

President Barack Obama released a statement from the White House earlier today regarding the shooting. From the Office of the Press Secretary:

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the shooting that tragically took so many lives in Wisconsin. 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. 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.”

Updated 12:54 am PST: CNN breaking news (@cnnbrk) has just tweeted information about the identity of the shooter. According to CNN, the shooter was a U.S. Army veteran and may have been a white supremacist.


Updated 1:48 am PST: Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker and House Representative Paul Ryan, whose district includes Oak Creek, issued statements earlier today:

“...Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, as we all struggle to comprehend the evil that begets this terrible violence.

At the same time, we are filled with gratitude for our first responders, who show bravery and selflessness as they put aside their own safety to protect our neighbors and friends...”

-Governor Scott Walker

"My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and everyone in Oak Creek who has been impacted by this tragic act of violence..."

-Paul Ryan

For full statements, visit CNN Politics.

Updated Monday, August 6, 2:55 pm PST: The Los Angeles Times is reporting on the identity of the shooter responsible for killing six congregants at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin yesterday morning.
Wade Michael Page, age 40, was an Army veteran who served in the military between 1992 and 1998, before being demoted in rank and denied an honorable discharge. The reason for his demotion or his being denied honorable discharge was not revealed by the source speaking to the Los Angeles Times, as they were not cleared to speak to the press. Page was demoted from sergeant to specialist.
Page initially served as a repairman for a surface-to-air-missile system before becoming a psychological operations specialist.

Page’s military record also shows he earned commendations and medals for basic achievement, good conduct, and “humanitarian service,” as well as a parachutist badge, according to the Los Angeles Times.



Updated Monday, August 6, 3:13 pm PST: The Hill is reporting that President Obama has ordered U.S. flags be flown at half-staff until sunset Friday, in respect of the victims.

Updated Thursday, August 9, 12:08 am : The names and ages of the 5 men and 1 woman who were killed in Sunday’s attack are as follows, as reported by CNN Wire Staff: Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65; Prakash Singh, 39; Suveg Singh, 84 and a woman, Paramjit Kour, 41.

According to the Associated Press, one of the victims, Satwant Singh Kaleka, the president of the temple (or gurdwara), died defending his house of worship. Mr. Kaleka seized a butter knife and was shot twice by Wade Michael Page while trying to stab him, according to the report, reprinted in the Seattle PI.

Two children, Abhay Singh, 11 and his sister, Amanat, 9, were sitting outside the gurdwara when the lone gunman opened fire. The children immediately ran inside and warned congregants, before hiding in a pantry with other worshippers. Abhay told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “We ran as fast as we could inside to warn everybody in the kitchen and everybody else there is a man outside with a gun. We were a little scared.” 


Three people were wounded in Sunday’s attack. As of 6:39 pm tonight, Lt. Brian Murphy, the police officer who was wounded by the gunman, is listed in satisfactory condition, according to TMJ 4, a NBC affiliate based in Milwaukee. Lt. Murphy was shot 8-9 times by the gunman. The station also reported that Santokh Singh, 50, has been upgraded to serious condition and Punjab Singh, 65, remains in critical condition.

CNN reports that Lt. Brian Murphy, despite his grievous wounds, waived fellow officers away in an attempt to prioritize shooting victims.

Earlier reports indicated that Wade Michael Page was killed by police. However, according to a FBI statement, Page shot himself in the head and took his own life after receiving a potentially fatal gunshot wound to the stomach, reports CNN Wire Staff.


Authorities have yet to determine motive and are still investigating what led Page to open fire at a Sikh temple last Sunday morning, killing six and wounding three. “We are zeroing in on possible motives,” said FBI special agent in charge Teresa Carlson, as reported by CNN, “but right now we don’t have one.”

The Associated Press has reported that the weapon used by Page, a 9mm handgun, was purchased legally.


More details about Page’s career in the Army have become available. According to the Associated Press, Page was demoted in June of 1998 after getting drunk on duty and going AWOL.  

Today, worshippers at the Sikh temple were allowed back inside for the first time since Sunday’s shooting, reports NPR. They quickly set about the cleanup process. The following pictures were tweeted by @amarHoboken:



Congregants decided to leave this bullet hole as a reminder.
The pantry where 16 people hid during the shooting.
Volunteers pressure washing the floor.









The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be in Oak Creek 
Friday morning and will deliver remarks during a memorial service.


Isaac can be reached for comment at isaac.matson@outlook.com

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