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06:37, 27 June 2017 Tuesday
Update: 17:06, 06 August 2012 Monday

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Suspect in Sikh temple shooting "ex-US soldier"
Suspect in Sikh temple shooting

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.

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.

9MM HANDGUN

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.

 



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.