News / USA

FBI Heads Investigation into Wisconsin Shooting

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN —Law enforcement officials are beginning to learn more about 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, the man who allegedly killed six worshipers and injured three others at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.  As the investigation continues, the Sikh community in Oak Creek is mourning those who died, including the temple’s president.

"Prakash Singh, 39 years old, male."
 
A member of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin read the names of those who lost their lives in Sunday’s shooting.

"Ranjit Singh, 49 years old, male.”
 
Harpreet Singh could not hold back his tears.  His uncle, the temple's president, was among those killed.
 
“Satwant Singh Kaleka, 62 years old, male.”

“He was kind of my mentor, my lighthouse, which helped me with everything in my life, and helped me stand up on my feet.  He was like a father figure," said family member Harpreet Singh.

Singh is among hundreds of Sikhs here trying to make sense of violence in a place meant as a sanctuary.

He says he was initially upset with the police response Sunday because he was unaware of the confusion and danger that delayed emergency responders in reaching the wounded.

“I know the authorities," he said. "They have to take themselves first, because they are the saviors.  They want to save people and they needed to save themselves first.”

 “So we have to make sure that that area is secure, and just like our officer was ambushed, that another officer responding to go in there because someone is yelling for help is not also ambushed.  Unfortunately, it may seem like a long time, but that is how we have to operate," said Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards told the media that authorities are seeking a motive for the attack.  The investigation is focused on the alleged gunman, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, a U.S. Army veteran.

“We are looking at ties to white supremacy groups," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson.

Carlson says her office is treating the investigation as an act of domestic terrorism.

“The definition of domestic terrorism is the use of force or violence for social or political gain, so that’s obviously what we’re looking at," she said.

As the investigation continues, Harpreet Singh says the mass shooting is not his first experience with what he calls a hate crime.

“The next day after September the 11[2001], and we were cab drivers, and we had cabs parked in front of our apartments, and they came and that night slashed tires and broke the glass and stuff," he said. "

Instead of being angry, Singh says the best way to combat hate is to educate the public about Sikhs and what they stand for.  He says he hopes this incident helps reach that goal.

Kane Farabaugh

Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

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