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.
Moscow, which denies its troops have a role in the takeover of Crimea, says people there - a small majority of whom are ethnic Russians - should have the right to secede
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to London to meet with his Russian, as Putin and French President Francois Hollande discussed "possibilities for stepping up international support" for a solution
"Syria is now the biggest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world, with violence reaching unthinkable levels," Ban's press office said
In an interview with the France 24 news channel, Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi and Qatar of sponsoring terrorism in his country.
The building is reported to have had gas smells emanating from it for weeks.
His address to the Knesset was staunchly pro-Israeli, and he delighted his hosts by claiming Jewish ancestral roots and talking tough on Iran
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has said Russia is to build two new nuclear power plants in the country.
The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels have been involved in nearly two decades of conflict that spilled into eastern Congo
Egyptian authorities have tightened their control over the border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip since last July's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army.
Edward Dolinsky, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, made a lobbying trip to Jerusalem but not received by officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
"Jordan did not bow to these demands because the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) itself has not adopted a unified position on the need to isolate Qatar over its foreign policies," the lawmaker said on condition of anonymity.
Mustafa Jemilev became the first Crimean Tatar leader to meet with a Russian leader in 200 years. The meeting lasted half an hour, after which Jemilev revealed that the two sides had agreed to continue talks.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said "With Chancellor Merkel we both believe that signing of the association agreement with Ukraine as soon as possible would be beneficial"
Belarus would ask Russia to send "no more than 12 to 15 planes", indicating that the request had been made under a clause of a "union treaty"
Police stopped protesters from the RCD and MSP who were showing red signs with the word 'Boycott', saying their demonstration was illegal
The one-day meeting appeared to mirror a series of "Friends of Syria" conferences in which Western and Arab nations pledged political and financial support for the rebels