Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wisconsin Gurdwara Shooting: Who is Responsible?

Wade Michael Page, a lone gunman, killed seven persons at a gurdwara and and “dozens” critically injured, including a police officer. Many men and women were at the gurdwara in what appeared to be a hate crime in Oak Creek, a quiet suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the United States, to pray when a man walked in and went on a killing spree. While it is too early to comment on the motives of the gunman who was later killed by a police officer, the Sikh victims were, like others in all terrorist acts, innocent people.

The incident comes scarcely two weeks after at least 12 persons were killed in Aurora, Colorado, at the screening of the latest Batman movie.

Page used a 9mm handgun utilizing multiple ammunition magazines, he added. Authorities are trying to identify another person, a White male, whom they described as “a person of interest.”
The police have identified the deceased as brothers Seeta Singh (granthi) and Ranjit Singh (raagi); gurdwara president Satwant Singh Kaleka; Prakash Singh (granthi), 39; and congregation members Subegh Singh and Paramjit Kaur. Kaleka was killed after he tried to tackle Page.

Three others are in hospital in critical condition -- Punjab Singh, Santokh Singh and police officer Lieutenant Brian Murphy. A fourth victim was treated and released from hospital.

Officer Lieutenant Brian Murphy was shot eight or nine times in the face and extremities at “very close range” The shootings were being “treated as a domestic terrorist-type incident.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a probe into the incident that law enforcement authorities have termed as "domestic terrorism". No motive has been identified behind the shooting spree.

The investigation is still being treated as a possible case of domestic terrorism, the local police said. On August 5, six persons were killed and three critically injured when Page, a former US army psychological operations specialist, opened fire inside a Gurudwara.

Who is Page?
Page, the 40-year-old ex-army veteran who killed six people at a Gurudwara in the US regularly attended hate events, was an ardent believer in the white supremacist movement and was associated with rock bands whose violent music talked about murdering Jews and black people.

Wade Page was shot and killed by a police officer in the parking lot of the Oak Creek Gurudwara after he wounded another police agent and killed six persons as preparations were underway for Sunday morning prayers.

Page was a “frustrated neo-Nazi” who had been the leader of a racist white-power band known as “End Apathy.” He has been affiliated with, including self-described “American Nationalist” band ‘Youngblood’ and ‘Definite Hate’, a group captured in a 2007 YouTube video performing in front of a Nazi flag superimposed with the image of Adolf Hitler’s head.

After serving in the US Army from 1992-1998, Page is believed to have worked as a truck driver from 2006 to 2010 in North Carolina.

Further, records from the Cumberland County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Department show Page was issued five permits to purchase pistols in May of 2008.

India has sought an assurance from the United States over the safety of the Indian community there in the wake of the shooting at a Wisconsin Gurudwara that left seven people, including the gunman, dead.

The attack on worshippers at their place of worship points towards an unacceptable degree of religious intolerance among certain individuals in that society. Even though community leaders point out that Sikh immigrants have a respected and established presence in many parts of the US, there is no doubt that many states in America give their inhabitants easy access to guns. Incidents of gunmen attacking innocent people abound.

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