Sikh Temple Massacre Suspect a 'Frustrated Neo-Nazi'

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Authorities are still trying to figure out why a gunman went on a deadly shooting rampage that left six people dead at a Sikh Sunday service in Wisconsin.
Investigators are labeling it "domestic terrorism" at this point but believe the shooter may also be a racist.

'Frustrated Neo-Nazi'

Suspected shooter Wade Michael Page is being described as a "frustrated neo-Nazi" who led a white supremacist band.

Page, 40, was identified as the shooter by First Assistant U.S. Greg Haanstad in Milwaukee. The Southern Poverty Law Center revealed his racist ties Monday.

According to the civil rights group, Page told a white supremacist website in 2010 that he'd been part of the "white-power" movement since 2000.

He told the website his "inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole," the SPLC said.

Page is also an Army veteran. The former "psychological operations specialist" served from 1992-1998.

Police searched the suspect's apartment today looking for clues to his motive.

"The motive is yet to be determined and (we are) working with the FBI. I don't believe... We don't have a full motive yet," Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards.

A Horrifying Scene

Witnesses described Sunday's killings as a nightmare.

"Wounded people are on the ground, and the shooters are inside," one witness said. "And people are reporting on text messages and some people are lying in the bathrooms asking for help."

Eyewitnesses say the gunman never uttered a word. He just began firing.

"The shooter loaded the gun again, and he is just going into the building," another witness described as the tragedy unfolded.

Local Sikhs were gathering for Sunday services when their peaceful meeting was turned into a massacre.

Many of the first 9-1-1 calls came from people hiding inside the building. Others came from friends and family members who were beginning to arrive for services.

"We are just trying to find out if everybody is fine. That's the main thing right now," Parminder Kaleka, the temple president's sister-in-law, said.

Satwant Singh Kaleka, president of the temple, is among the wounded. Family members said he was preparing for the day's services.

"A lot of families and children and adults were there just getting ready for the day. And he was preparing his lecture and everything," Kaleka's son, Amardeep, said.

Also wounded was a 20-year veteran of the Oak Creek Police Department. The officer was helping a victim when he was ambushed by the shooter.

"Multiple rounds were exchanged," Police Chief Brad Wentlandt of the Greenfield, Wis., Police Department reported. "The officer was shot multiple times. The suspect, the shooter, was also shot."

Authorities say the gunman was killed in that exchange.

A Disturbing Trend

Sunday's incident was the latest in a long string of assaults on worship services.

In 2007, shootings in Colorado rocked two church communities. Four people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a missionary school and at a church in Colorado Springs.

More recently, in 2010, three hooded men walked into a church in Richmond, Calif., opened fire then fled the scene.

And in 2009 in Maryville, Ill., a gunmen walked into the First Baptist Church and shot the pastor at point blank.

Now the Wisconsin Sikhs join the list of senseless killings.

"This is a big tragedy for our church," Parminder Kaleka said. "Our church, we always felt, was a safe place; we never thought this could happen ever in my church.

Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world. It was started in the 15th century by people in the Punjab, which is a region straddling the border between Pakistan and India.

Sikhs wear turbans and are sometimes confused with Muslims.

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George Thomas

George Thomas

CBN News Sr. Reporter

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