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.
Police say both suspects, who resided in Spanish cities of Valladolid and Murcia, were radicalized online
24 journalists stage strike to coincide with Palestinian Journalists Day
Over 99 percent of voters back Jan. 9 as Republika Srpska 'Statehood Day', fuelling fears of independence push from Bosnia
Council official calls for holding ‘consultations’ with view to appointing new heads of top state institutions
A measure making it more difficult for foreign workers to be employed won 58 percent of the vote in a referendum on Sunday in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, which borders Italy.
"Previous statements delivered by his adviser on Israel show a total abandonment of the two-state solution, international law and UN resolutions."
In northern Iraq, meanwhile, army braces for decisive push on ISIL-held city of Mosul
Government troops intensify operations to clear Boko Haram from northeastern Borno state
Congolese security forces battle unidentified militant group in Kasai-Central province
Hollande's visit comes just days after one by his conservative predecessor Sarkozy -- who is hoping to make a comeback as president, with a harsh line on migration a key part of his campaign.
Critics of the referendum have said that it is stoking ethnic tension and is bolstering separatist sentiment within the Bosnian Serb ministate
Hundreds of people in central Mudug region call on Indian government to release 119 Somalis accused of being pirates
Authorities in Azerbaijan are holding a referendum on September 26 over changes to the country's constitution
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.
"What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counter-terrorism, it is barbarism," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the 15-member council.
Bosnian Serbs have voted to maintain a Statehood Day holiday on January 9 in a controversial referendum held in defiance of a high-court ruling from Sarajevo.