World Bulletin / News Desk
The gunman who killed six people at a Sikh temple in southern Wisconsin was a former U.S. serviceman, a law enforcement official said on Monday, and a monitor of extremists said the shooter had links to racist groups.
The gunman, identified as Wade Michael Page, shot dead six people and seriously wounded three, including a police officer, at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday as worshippers prepared for religious services. Police shot dead the gunman.
Although the identity of the tall, bald, white suspect in his 40s was not officially released, Fox News said Page, 40, was a former soldier. Page at one time was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fox said, citing unnamed sources.
CNN said Page legally owned the gun that was used in the shooting.
A law enforcement official who asked not to be identified said the "name that is out there is accurate."
Authorities said they were treating the attack as an act of domestic terrorism.
Wade had been a member of the racist skin head band End Apathy, based in Fayetteville, North Carolina,in 2010, said Heidi Beirich, director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama.
Wade also tried to buy goods from the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group, in 2000, she said.
"That's all we know about Wade. We are still digging through our files," she said.
A U.S. official who asked not to be identified confirmed that Wade had been in the military and said it was before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Police were searching an apartment at a duplex in the Cudahy neighborhood near Milwaukee, presumed to be the residence of the gunman. Generators and floodlights were set up along the street and a bomb squad was on the scene.
The names of the victims were not made public pending notification of relatives, although members said the president of the congregation and a priest were among the victims.
Oak Creek Police Chief John Richards told CNN the suspect had a military background but gave no more details.
The suspect "lived in a community neighboring ours, we're doing a 24-hour backcheck, just to get any idea what he was up to, what he was doing," Edwards said.
"Right now there is no indication that there were any red flags."
The wounded police officer had been shot eight or nine times in the face and extremities at close range with a handgun. None of the wounds were life-threatening, Edwards said.
Authorities said the gunman had used a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, which was recovered at the scene. They were trying to track the origin of the weapon.
Wisconsin has some of the most permissive gun laws in the country. It passed a law in 2011 allowing citizens to carry a concealed weapon.
Jagjit Singh Kaleka, the brother of the president of the temple, who was among the six Sikhs killed, said he had no idea what the motive was for the attack.
"But we know the more assault weapons we distribute the more situations like this we will have," he said. The United States had a ban on certain assault weapons but it expired in 2004. The attack came just over two weeks after a gunman killed 12 people at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, where they were watching a screening of new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises."
In January 2011, a gunman killed six people in an attack on an event by then Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords was shot in the head but survived.
There are 500,000 or more Sikhs in the United States but the community in Wisconsin is small, about 2,500 to 3,000 families, said local Sikhs.
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.
"These people were going to church. Two weeks ago, it was people going to a movie. When is it going to end?" said Ray Zirkle, who came from Racine, Wisconsin, with his wife to light votive candles near the site of the shooting.
The U.N. experts reiterated that Israel's obligations to uphold the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also applied to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip
Sudan's ruling party on Saturday officially declared al-Bashir its candidate for upcoming presidential elections
"We hold the Israeli government responsible for these dangerous escalations in occupied East Jerusalem, the latest of which was the closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound," PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah said
About 10 Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters entered the Syrian town of Kobani through the border crossing with Turkey, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Abdel Belhadj says victim of CIA, British rendition and he was handed to Gaddafi as part of UK deal
Burkina Faso's government has abandoned plans for legislation to extend President Blaise Compaore's 27-year rule amid protests
"They were killed in different places by shelling and one was killed in an ambush," spokesman Andriy Lysenko said. Eleven others had been wounded in various incidents
Seven nuclear plants across the country were flown over by drones between Oct. 5 and Oct. 20, an EDF spokeswoman said, without any impact on the plants' safety or functioning.
The kidnappers attacked the staff and a contractor for the firm in southwest Nigeria's Ogun state on Friday as they were making their way to work in a quarry
Cuts of at least 10 percent were adopted at the weekend as part of a revision to this year's budget, while job losses and cuts in subsidies to state firms may follow in 2015.
Footage obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union captures eight officers shooting 46 times at a mentally-ill black man armed with a pocketknife
Sweden – in line with statement made one month earlier – officially recognized the State of Palestine, becoming the first E.U. member to do so.
A panel of three military judges sentenced the four defendants to prison terms ranging from 25 to 45 years. The military prosecutor had sought the death penalty for one of them
A group of Palestinian Muslim worshippers gathered outside the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid beefed-up security, including an Israeli surveillance helicopter that hovered overhead
Khalid al-Nasser, a member of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, was denied entry to Egypt for "security reasons" and sent back to Turkey
Police source says 9-year-old freed after 3 months in captivity upon payment of ransom