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UPDATE: 40-Year-Old Army Vet Named as Gunman in Sikh Temple Shooting

Seven people, including shooter, died Sunday morning at Oak Creek temple; veteran police officer among those injured.

Story updated at 7:50 a.m. Monday; includes name of gunman.

At least seven people are confirmed dead and three others injured, following the Sunday morning shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.

Police on Monday said one gunman was responsible for the act: Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Page was attached to the Fort Bragg base in North Carolina. He recently moved to a duplex in the 3700 block of E. Holmes Avenue in Cudahy, the newspaper reported.

Three bodies were found outside the temple at 7512 S. Howell Ave. and four were inside the building. Among the deceased is the gunman, who apparently acted alone. 

The two officers who first arrived at the temple exchanged fire with the gunman. One officer, a 20-year veteran of the department was shot several times, according to Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt, who briefed members of the press shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday. He was in surgery Sunday afternoon but was expected to survive, Wentlandt said. 

The second officer fired back at the gunman, shooting him dead.

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As of the time of Wentlandt's briefing, tactical units had gone through the temple and found no additional shooters. Police believe early reports of multiple shooters grew from witnesses seeing the same shooter from different angles. 

No further information is expected from police until a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday.

For instant updates follow Oak Creek Patch on Facebook and Twitter.

Police executed a search warrant at the alleged gunman's Cudahy home, according to media reports, and several law enforcement agencies are still at the home in the 3700 block of E. Holmes Ave. The neighborhood has been evacuated, and neighbors have reported seeing police officers going in and out of the house. 

Our partners at Fox 6 are reporting that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Chicago has said the gunman was a white man in his 40s. Officials have not released the name of the gunman.

Searching the suspect's home

Agents and officers from the FBI, ATF and Cudahy Police Department surrounded a Cudahy home Sunday evening and evacuated the area. A Patch editor on the scene said it looked like members of a SWAT team were using a ladder truck from St. Francis to gain access to the second floor.

Brandon Smith, a resident in the same Cudahy neighbhood told Patch that residents of that block have been evacuated and others have been asked to stay in their homes. All-in-all, people are calm.

"A lot of people are milling around in the neighborhood and are very calm," he said. "Some are even playing hacky-sack in the street."

Bomb-sniffing dogs have been on the scene and shortly before 8 p.m., it looked like law enforcement was getting ready to take some kind of action. Agents from the FBI interviewed a couple who own the home, and as the couple walked away, they stopped briefly to tell reporters that anything they had to say, they said it to the federal agents.

Right around 8 p.m., officers first entered a home on the south side of the street, and then moved to another home across the street on the north side of the block

Patch left a message for the FBI's public information officer, and we will update this story when we hear from him.

By 9 p.m., Oak Creek police were canvassing the Gables Apartments, a complex near the two homes where the suspect is believed to have lived. At the same time, SWAT teams continued working inside the two units the suspect most recently called home.

The mother of the suspected shooter's landlord told Patch and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend. 

Three Critically Injured Treated at Froedtert

The Chief Medical Officer at Froedtert Hospital confirmed the hospital is treating three male victims from the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. The first calls came in at approximately 11:18 a.m. telling hospital personnel to prepare for multiple gunshot victims.

One of the patients is the Oak Creek police officer who was hit several times. All three were reported to be in critical condition as of 4 p.m. Sunday.

"The victims suffered gunshot wounds to their extremities, neck and abdomen," said Dr. Lee Biblo Sunday afternoon.

As for the severity of the victims' injuries or who was suffering from what specific injuries, Biblo would not elaborate further. He did say the hospital is well equipped to handle this kind of trauma.

"We train for this," he said.

Police departments and rescue assistance from throughout the region — including Wauwatosa, Fox Point, Racine and Brown Deer, as well as the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department — responded to the scene. The Flight for Life helicopter also responded to the scene and the FBI was called in.

Landlord Kurt Weins told the Journal-Sentinel he had been interviewed by law enforcement, and said he was surprised by what had happened.

“I had him (his tenant, believed to be the shooter) checked out and he definitely checked out,” Weins told the JS. “The cops told me they don’t want me to say nothing right now.”

The JS also reported FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson provided a short media briefing at the scene in Cudahy, saying a “SWAT team and evidence response team” were executing a search warrant.

The JS reported that when Carlson was asked how long the search would take, she said, "as long as we need. It’s going to be a long night.”

While there has been no official release of the names of the victims, as word spreads through the Sikh community, information about the people shot is becoming public.

The JS reported one of the dead was Parkash Singh, a priest at the temple.

“He was a good guy, a noble soul,” Manminder Sethi told the JS.

A retired firefighter who lives near the temple told the JS he helped someone who had been shot. The man and been “shot right through the side,” Jim Haase told the JS. He said he helped the man for about 10 minutes. 

Incident Treated as 'Domestic Terrorism'

As police cleared the temple, they brought people who had been inside to a bowling alley across the street. The American Red Cross and Salvation Army were providing assistance there. A temple leader said after the shooting started, some women hid inside a closet for more than an hour. CNN is reporting the son of the congregation president told TMJ4 that his father was shot as he tried to tackle the gunman. A hotline has been established for family members looking for information on those involved. The number is 1-888-298-1964.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards has said "heroic actions of officers stopped it from being worse than it is."

The incident is being treated as domestic terrorism, officials said at the Sunday afternoon press conference, and the FBI is overseeing the criminal investigation.

The Los Angels Times is reporting that the shooting suspect had tattoos that lead them to label the incident as domestic terrorism. The paper's FBI source apparently asked for anonymity because they didn't have the authority to speak to the media. The source stopped short of saying the gunman belonged to a hate group associated with violence.

However, ABC News is reporting sources have told them the suspected gunman belonged to a white supremacist group

Though police have not given any details on the identity or motive of the shooter, or released the identities of the victims, sources have told ABC News the shootings are the work of a "white supremacist" or "skinhead." - ABC News

A person who had friends inside the temple told Patch the gunman opened fire during a morning service. Another member of the temple said "The priest called from inside (the temple) and said, 'Send ambulances; send ambulances.'"

Police did not release information about the suspect, but early police radio reports said a witness described the shooter as a white male, with a heavy build and bald head, wearing a sleeveless T-shirt and carrying two handguns. No one was in custody as of the 4 p.m. press conference. 

CNN is reporting police have recovered two semi-automatic handguns, information they attribute to "a law enforcement source directly involved in the investigation."

Officials Express Condolences, Offer Prayers

The White House says that President Barack Obama also has been briefed on the shootings.

In a statement, Obama said:

"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."

As an apparent precaution, several squad cars were stationed at the entrances and exits of the Sikh Temple at 3675 N. Calhoun Road in Brookfield — the only other Sikh temple in the region.

The president also called Gov. Scott Walker on Sunday. Walker released his own statement about the shooting:

"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."

He and his wife, Tonette, asked people to join them in praying for the victims and their families, for the safety of law enforcement and first responders, and for "strength and healing for this entire community and our state."

On Monday, Walker ordered all flags in Wisconsin to fly at half staff.

DA visited temple last year to focus on violence

The shootings come nearly one year after state Rep. Josh Zepnick and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm .

The temple asked for the meeting because of recent violence against Sikhs in Milwaukee, including the looting of at least one Sikh-owned business.

"The Sikh community is a strong and positive force within Milwaukee's diverse ethnic population," Zepnick at the time. "It's unacceptable that they, or any law-abiding business owner, be the target of what appears to be an escalating pattern against certain businesses and segments of the population."

Temple serves a growing community

The Sikh Temple began with 20 families in rented space in the south side of Milwaukee and has since grown to number in the hundreds. A new Gurudwara was built in Oak Creek to better serve the needs of the growing community. The construction of the 17,500 square-foot Gurudwara was completed in 2007, with parking for 100 cars.

Sikh Indians, because of religious tradition, wear turbans to cover their uncut hair and have longer beards. They are often mistaken for Muslims and have been the targets of racially-motivated crimes by anti-Muslim people and groups, as evidenced by the epithets shouted at them.

Patch editors Sarah Millard, Denise Lockwood and Heather Asiyanbi contributed to this report.

April August 07, 2012 at 12:06 PM
It is really sad that so many people are argueing on here about beliefs and relligion. Maybe you all should look at the Sikh people involved in this horrific event. Are they spewing anger, hate, are they saying their relligion is better than anyone elses, are they showing any kind of dislike for any other race???? No they are not. So why are any of you. I for one admire them for their strength and peacefulness amongst all their pain and misunderstanding of this event. Everyone should be praying for these people no matter what your relligion is and for the officers who risked their lives. Truly sad that this is just bringing on more hate, more anger when we should all be coming together to help eachother and comfort eachother
Dirk Gutzmiller August 07, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Hoffa - This issue of nuts with guns is way, way beyond you trying to stifle discussion on Patch of what we can do to limit these tragedies. The number one burning question people are asking is how you and others can condone allowing a Neo-Nazi leader with a terrible armed services record and mental problems to walk right in to a gun shop and legally purchase his killing tools. Overreaching is one of the big downfalls of sociopathic individuals. The NRA and its membership are on a path of self-destruction in advocating more guns, more powerful guns,more gun owners and carriers, zero tolerance for any type of control over guns, etc. Most guns, ammo, etc. used by these nut job killers were purchased legally. Shame, shame, shame.
vocal local 1 August 07, 2012 at 12:54 PM
April, discourse is good as it brings about enlightenment and progress. As I floated about the city yesterday I didn't hear any contempt. The majority of residents always have been respectful of the beliefs of others as evidenced by the variety of churches/temples here. What I did hear was concern for the Shiks a disbelief that the incident happened here, praise for OCPD officers and need to know exactly what happened. I remind all: the perp wasn't a Wisconsinite. I for one want to know more about his involvement with the US military PSYOP'S. Whats really going on? Reportedly, were losing one troop per day to sucide. What is the military doing to the psychological well being of the nations protective force?
archigato August 08, 2012 at 06:42 AM
I think that killing people congregated at a church or theater, is just a typical action not only owned by muslim suicide terrorists, but by White American Racists who like WAR.
Thomas Jefferson August 08, 2012 at 08:05 AM
Lindsay, Mexico bans almost all private gun ownership, but has one of the highest gun homicide rates in the world.

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