Thousands gather at candlelight vigil for Sikh shooting victims
WTMJ News Team, Jay Sorgi & The Associated Press
Keller Russell reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
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.
OAK CREEK- In the midst of tragedy -- the community rallied Tuesday night behind the victims' families and the entire Sikh faith.
This vigil was to remember those lives lost -- but to also show support and solidarity of the Sikh faith.
TODAY'S TMJ4's Keller Russell reports it was an emotional sight as thousands of people gathered at Henry Miller Park for the Oak Creek National Night Out where religion didn't separate, but united those there.
TODAY'S TMJ4's Keller Russell: "What is it like for you to see the huge amount of people here?"
Sandeep Khattra: "Overwhelming, loving, it's just like I said, the support we've gotten is phenomenal."
Support that's holding Sandeep Khattra's family together. She's there to pay honor to her grandfather, Suveg Singh Khattra.
The 84-year-old is among the six murdered when Wade Michael Page opened fire inside their place of worship Sunday.
Also killed -- the temple's president, two priests and two other worshipers. Police call it a case of "domestic terrorism." But this candlelight vigil was to remember the lives lost -- where creed and color do not matter.
"When it comes to a time of crisis..we're all together. We stand as one," said Sandeep Khattra.
Community members joined in the Sikh custom of covering their heads with scarves -- a sign of respect. Members of the church marched in carrying flags symbolic of their faith. And even eyes too young to comprehend the gravity of the vigil, know the heartache around them.
Unity Sandeep Khattra hopes will last, for those who lost their lives.
"Everybody needs to understand don't judge others by what race religion ethnicity they are," proclaimed Khattra.
Officials say that the man responsible for the massacre at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek legally purchased his semi-automatic handgun. Wade Michae Page bought the gun from the Shooter Shop in West Allis. It is a Springfield 9MM X-D handgun.
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.
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.
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.
Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, seen below, and two others were shot by the Wade. Those three are in critical condition at Froedtert Hospital.
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.
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. That ex-girlfriend has been arrested for illegally possession a firearm 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.
"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.
"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.