Sikh temple shooter legally bought gun in West Allis

Jay Sorgi with the WTMJ News Team and the Associated Press

Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Sikh temple shooter legally bought gun in West Allis

CREATED Aug. 5, 2012 - UPDATED: Aug. 7, 2012

Click on the video links, the photo gallery from the crime scene, a photo gallery of reported shooter Wade Page and the related stories below to see the latest update and more details on the Sikh temple shooting.

WEST ALLIS - Officials say that the man responsible for the massacre at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek legally purchased his semi-automatic handgun.  Meanwhile, vigils and a wake and visitation have been planned for victims this week.

Army veteran Wade Michael Page was the shooter, Oak Creek Police and federal officials confirmed.  Police shot and killed him on scene Sunday after he killed six people attending the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

Three people were still in critical condition Tuesday morning, including Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, 51, a veteran officer with the department.

Page bought the gun from the Shooter Shop in West Allis.  It is a Springfield 9MM X-D handgun.

"The handgun was purchased legally," said Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards.  "The individual purchased it without any problem.  He wasn't banned from owning that handgun."

Officials with the FBI, ATF, Oak Creek Police and other law enforcement groups continued their investigation Tuesday morning.

"To give you a motive at this time would be premature," said Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards during a Monday news conference.  The FBI also said they were searching for ties to white supremacist groups.

The following are the names of the victims:
- Seeta Singh, 41, male
- Ranjit Singh, 49, male
- Satwant Singh Kaleka, 62, male, the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
- Parkash Singh, 39, male
- Parmjit Kaur, 41, female
- Subegh Singh, 84, male.

Murphy, seen below, and two others were shot by the Wade.  Those three are in critical condition at Froedtert Hospital.

Federal officials said there was another "person of interest" in the case, but ruled him out as being connected with the rampage.

News sources said that Page was a man who served in the U.S. Army.  NBC News reported Page was the leader of a neo-Nazi music band, "End Apathy."

A civil rights organization has tracked Page since 2000 for his connection to hate groups.

Page's ex-stepmother remembers her stepson as a "gentle, kind, loving child, little boy and teenager."

Laura Page says she was Wade Michael Page's stepmother. The 67-year-old from Denver says Page was 10 when she married his father, Jesse Page.

"He was a precious little boy, and that's what my mind keeps going back to," said Laura Page.

Click here for more on that part of the story from KUSA-TV in Denver.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Charles Benson reports that Page lived in a South Milwaukee apartment with a girlfriend earlier this year until they broke up.  Benson reports that both moved out in February.

Kurt Weins rented a duplex on E. Holmes Ave. in Cudahy to Page in July, and at one point he even lived with the 40-year-old.
 
"He seemed like a pretty normal guy. He didn't even strike me as weird," said Weins to TODAY'S TMJ4. 

The landlord told TODAY'S TMJ4 that Page moved into the duplex after breaking up with his girlfriend.

ABC News, of which Newsradio 620 WTMJ is an affiliate, said Page acted as a specialist in psychological operations.  The Army gave him a general discharge in 1998 without opportunity for re-enlistment.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Steve Chamraz also reports that Page was demoted while in the Army.

The shootings happened at about 10:25 a.m. Sunday at the Sikh Temple, on the 7500 block of South Howell Avenue in Oak Creek.

A hotline has been established for family members looking for information on those involved: 1-888-298-1964.

A fund has been set up for the Sikh temple victims and donations may be mailed to:
Victims Memorial Fund
Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
7512 S. Howell Ave

FBI, police and other investigators investigated a home in Cudahy, believing it to be Page's home.

"(The first officer on scene) came upon a victim in the parking lot and exited his vehicle, and went to assist that individual.  It was at that point he was met by the suspect, who basically ambushed him.  He was shot eight to nine times in very close range with a handgun," said Chief John Edwards during a Monday morning news conference.

He explained that Murphy waved off those who wanted to help him, so that they could find the shooter.

"He waved them off, he told them to get to temple and assist in there...One of the officers returned fire with a rife, putting the individual down."

He further explained Monday that law enforcement went through the temple, then through the community to make sure no other shooter was involved.

"Not only did we clear the temple itself, we then did a bridge search of approximately three square miles with the tactical teams, with air support.  When that was completed, we did a door-to-door, knock-and-talk (search) to make sure everybody was safe," explained Edwards.

"This was the only shooter."

"Sunday was a tragic day for our city, especially as it occurred at a place of worship," said Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi during the news conference. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victims, our wounded officer...and a community which is still in shock...There is no doubt in my mind that the heroic actions of our police officers prevented a greater tragedy."

"The Sikh community is part of what makes our city strong."

"Right now, the crime scene is still being worked by the FBI emergency response team," said Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards on "Live at Daybreak." 

"They were out there last night, photographing, collective evidence.  We're hoping they'll have that scene completed by midnight tonight."

One of the people who was killed was the temple's president, Satwant Singh Kaleka.  His son says the FBI described him as a hero for possibly saving others' lives in the temple.

A person familiar with the internal Oak Creek police investigation into Sunday's shooting at a Sikh temple says the officer who killed the shooter is Sam Lenda.  There was no word of any injuries to that officer.

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi tweeted, "I received a call from President Obama offering his condolences to our City. His words were comforting on a very difficult day."

Chief John Edwards said Sunday that they were investigating the shootings as an incident of domestic terrorism.  They believed the dead gunman was responsible, but were still searching the area.

Police believe the shooter killed two victims outside, then went inside the temple and killed four more people.

According to reports, one man was shot in the face and extremities, while another was shot in the stomach.

"The emergency medical personnel, the tactical personnel who have gone through the scene, they have initially identified what they believe to be four deceased inside the temple, and three deceased outside the temple, one of whom is the shooter," said Greenfield Police Chief Brad Wentlandt.

Police did not initially identify any additional gunman on scene, but did not rule out the possibility of additional shooters.

"They went to church not knowing they might die today," said a woman who identified herself as the niece of the temple's president in an interview with Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Dan O'Donnell.

"My friend called and said 'I heard the shot, and two people falling down in the parking lot.'  He saw the shooter reloading the gun again," said witness Suni Singh to O'Donnell.

There was no initial word on how many people were inside when the shooting happened.  The temple holds hundreds of worshipers.

The Sikh Society of Wisconsin said they were meeting to decide how to proceed and "move forward after this tragic event. The society is headquartered in Madison. A member says the news is shocking. The society is still gathering all the information it can and will be reaching out to the Oak Creek Temple during its time of need."

"The city of Oak Creek is outraged by the senseless act of violence...our thoughts and prayers go out," said Mayor Steve Scaffidi.

 

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