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Posted by on Aug 6, 2012 in Breaking News | 30 comments

Sikh Temple Shooter Identified: Army Vet and White Supremacist UPDATE: Shooter Wade Michael Page Once led White Power Band (UPDATE 2)

Photo from Anti-Defamation Lague of Wade Michael Page

Authorities have now named the shooter — himself shot dead at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin where he killed seven people — as Wade Michael Page, an Army veteran and white supremacist. News reports continue to use the word “alleged,” but this is truly a case where the identity of the killer is known:

The alleged gunman in Sunday’s killing rampage at a Sikh temple in southern Wisconsin is Wade Michael Page, authorities told NBC’s Pete Williams Monday.

Page, who served in the Army from April 1992 through October 1998, allegedly killed six people at the temple and wounded three before he was shot and killed. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Page is the former leader of a neo-Nazi music group called End Apathy.

Police say Page, 40, purchased the pistol used in the shooting within the past 10 days near his home.

A police officer called to the scene shot Page dead before he could fire on more worshippers as they prepared for Sunday services at the temple in the suburb of Oak Creek, south of Milwaukee.

Police searched Page’s apartment for clues early on Monday. The FBI said on Sunday that it had not determined a motive for the Sunday morning shooting.

Authorities said they were treating the attack as an act of domestic terrorism.

UPATE: The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch reports that Page once led a white power band:

The man who allegedly murdered six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee yesterday, identified in media reports as Wade Michael Page, was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.

The website gives this purported picture of him.

A bit more of its post:

In 2010, Page, then the leader of the band End Apathy, gave an interview to the white supremacist website Label 56. He said that when he started the band in 2005, its name reflected his wish to “figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways” and start “moving forward.” “I was willing to point out some of my faults on how I was holding myself back,” Page said. Later, he added, “The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole.” He did not discuss violence in the interview.

Go to the website to read the rest of its post in full. Note that as of this writing, police have not released any picture of Page.

CBS News:

The suspect in a shooting that left six people dead at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee on Sunday has been identified as Wade Michael Page, who served in the U.S. Army for about six years.

According to sources in the U.S. Army, Page enlisted in April 1992 and given a less-than-honorable discharge in October 1998. He served at Fort Bliss, Texas, in the psychological operations unit in 1994, and was last stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, attached to the psychological operations unit. The details of his discharge were not immediately clear.

Wade was killed outside the temple in a shootout with police officers after the rampage that left terrified congregants hiding in closets and others texting friends outside for help.

Officials had previously described the suspect as a heavy-set, 40-year-old Caucasian with numerous tattoos.

Sources tell CBS News some unspecified evidence suggests race or ethnicity may have played a role in the violence, but no links to extremist groups have been confirmed.

ABC News:

Page, 40, opened fire outside the temple before entering around 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning and killed six people. He served in the Army from April 1992 through October 1998.

Page was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire with a police officer who sustained “eight or nine” gunshot wounds, authorities confirmed. Officials are treating it as a case of domestic terrorism.

Though police have not given any details on the motive of the shooter, but Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms Special Agent Thomas Ahern said Page had tattoos that suggested he had ties to white supremacists.

“It is being investigated. And what his tattoos signified is being investigated. They are all pieces of a possible puzzle to learn what was his motive in carrying out such a horrific act,” Ahern said.

While in the Army Wade served as a sergeant, and later as a specialist based in Ft. Bliss in Texas and at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. Wade’s job was as a Hawk missile system repairman, and he then became a psychological operations specialist, defense official confirmed to ABC news.

ABC News’ report this morning:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

UPDATE II: The Huffington Post has run this photo at the top that was reportedly supplied by the Anti-Defamation League of Wade. The HP has this tidbit:

Wade Michael Page, the suspected Sikh temple shooter, was on the radar of the Anti-Defamation League for his involvement with white supremacist groups since 2010, according to Mark Pitcavage, the ADL’s director of investigative research.

The ADL obtained photographs of Page playing guitar in front of a large swastika, which it said was taken from the Facebook page for the white supremacist group ‘Definite Hate,’ in early 2011. That page is no longer active.

Page was a member of Definite Hate, a band affiliated with the ‘Hammerskin Nation’, a white supremacist group founded in Dallas in the late 1980s, that now controls much of the White Power music scene in the U.S., according to the ADL.

The Guardian:

The authorities said Page was the only gunman, but added that they are seeking another “person of interest” who appeared at the scene and was behaving suspiciously. The FBI has a photograph of the man at the temple immediately after the shootings, who appears to be in his twenties and is wearing black shorts and a black and red T-shirt, but not his name.

The Oak Creek police chief, John Edwards, said it is premature to ascribe a motive, but some in the Sikh community said they feared Page confused them for Muslims. Witnesses to the shooting described him as wearing a tattoo commemorating 9/11.

“Maybe he hated our community for the wrong reasons,” Amrit Dhaliwal, a local doctor and member of the Oak Creek temple, told the Guardian. “He may have thought putting a turban on was something else. We want to know: why did it happen?”

In the days following the 9/11 attacks, there were four attacks on Sikhs in the Milwaukee area.

“It’s pretty much a hate crime,” Ven Boba Ri, one of the temple’s committee members, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. “It’s sad – I don’t know how to describe it. Sikhism is such a peaceful religion. We have suffered for generations, in India and even here.”

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, which monitors extremist groups, suggested the community might have been targeted by Page because of a broader prejudice as it described him as a “frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band” called End Apathy.

Witnesses said Page “did not speak – he just began shooting”. Using a semi-automatic pistol, he fired shots in rapid succession. He was carrying several magazines of bullets. Some of the congregants hid in cupboards. Children cowered downstairs and several women barricaded themselves in the building’s kitchen. The victims included an 84-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman. Four of the dead were found inside the temple and three outside.

Among the dead was the temple president, Satwant Kaleka, who arrived in the US in 1982 largely penniless and built a successful petrol-station business. His son, Amardeep, said Kaleka, 65, was shot twice after tackling Page and then hid in a room where he died.

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  • dduck

    The poor Sikhs, most of these uninformed racists don’t know the difference between any one wearing head adornment. After 9/11, some Sikhs were attacked even though they are from India and are not Muslims. Were these very loyal American Sikhs mistaken for Muslims, if so a tragedy.

    Another nut job, this time ex-military, shame.

  • So IIRC the TMV posts on Aurora generated dozens of comments each, everyone coming out of the woodwork to talk gun control, or gun rights, or whatever.

    Here, a Sikh temple gets shot up and what, two comments? Does anyone care?

    Smells like racism, folks.

  • ordinarysparrow

    I care…

    Some acts are so horrid the heart collapses… to get involved with the gun debate at this time would be insensitive to the fallen.

    Sincere prayers for the healing, comfort and support for One and All that have been gone through this horrid violence. The Sikhs i know are such good people with beautiful integrity of walk. They love music, poetry, family, most honoring of the feminine, work ethics and community are exemplar.

    Bertrand Russell (Philosopher, Mathematician 1872-1970)

    ” If some lucky men survive the onslaught of the third world war of atomic and hydrogen bombs, then the Sikh religion will be the only means of guiding them. When asked, isn’t this religion capable of guiding mankind before the third world war? He said, ‘Yes it has the capability, but the Sikhs haven’t brought out in the broad daylight the splendid doctrines of this religion, which has come into existence for the benefit of the entire mankind. This is their greatest sin and the Sikhs cannot be freed of it.”

    Here is an example of one of their sacred poetic scriptures…

    (The earth spins like a potters wheel and out from it fly both demons and Saints..)

    How true….

    ” Oh, my mind practice Yoga in this way:
    Let the Truth be your horn,sincerity your necklace,and meditation the ashes your apply on your body.

    Catch your burning soul, and stop the flames.

    Let the soul be the alms bowl in which you collect the sweet Naam, and this will be the only support that you will ever need.

    The Universe plays its divine music. The sound of reality is shrill, but that is where God is.

    When you listen to the reality from this place of awareness the sweet essence of Raag arises.

    Waves of melodies, emotions, and Passions arise and flow through you. Bind yourself with the song of God.

    The Universe spins like a potter’s wheel and from it fly both demons and angels.

    The sage listens to this and instead of getting caught in either one, the sage drinks in the nectar of the heavens and
    is carried to the heavens in a divine chariot.

    Instruct and cloth yourself with self-control.

    Meditate unto infinity unto you are meditating without meditating.

    In this way, your body shall remain forever golden, and death shall never approach you.”

    *Written by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th master of the Sikhs

  • slamfu

    Barky, I’m not so sure its racism so much as we might be a bit burned out of just having spent the last 2 weeks arguing over this same topic, and also we don’t have a whole lot of information at this point. I’m sure when specific firearm types are listed there will be more of what you are describing.

    Sounds like scary good work on the part of the officer who took out this animal, and I hope his recovery is swift. My heart goes out to those caught up in this.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    most all care about the many people of our world who suffer from those who care nothing for human life… and there are so many places on line and with friends and family to express that today. My prayers to and for the innocents here at the Sikh temple, and in every so many places on our earth where people come armed into holy places and do murder.

    Personally, I’m still in prayer about the murder of Romero, the brilliant kindly priest at his altar saying Mass when he was gunned down, and that was a long time ago.

    I hope to bring an article here about the Sikh’s soon.

  • hyperflow

    This is horrible every way you look it.

    If anything about this case were different — if he was a christian, if he thought he was targeting muslims, if he wasn’t an ex marine, etc, the narrative would be quite different.

    No. Instead this is just typical old school hate-for-hate sake.
    No. The Sikh shouldn’t arm themselves at during prayer.

    Yes. We need a national dialogue about acceptance and compassion — you know — the glue that made america the melting pot from beginning to …end?

    Where are the calls for compassion? I’m serious.

  • hyperflow

    PS: TMV: can we have “EDIT” back??? Please???

    • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

      look next to or under your name, is there not a light gray word in caps there that says EDIT? I dont know why they changed it to the top and made it pale gray. Let me know.

  • the glue that made america the melting pot

    Susquehanna!! :slowly I turn:

    Melting pot is a dead meme, and good riddance to it. 😉

  • During the months immediately following the September 11 bombings, while a significant number of Americans were agitating for vengeance, more than 1000 hate incidents were committed in the United States against Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians. These incidents included verbal harrassment, physical assaults, vandalism of homes, businesses, and places of worship, and several murders. A significant number of these victims were Sikhs whom their assailants lashed out against under the mistaken assumption that they were either Arabs or Muslims

    This is fairly common knowledge today, but it wasn’t readily known at the time. I hadn’t truly appreciated the extent of these hate incidents until I attended the screening of little known independent film called Divided We Fall. Directed by Valarie Kaur and Sharat Raju, this documentary film chronicled many of the violent acts committed against Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians and interviewed several of the victims and their families.

    I don’t watch very many documentaries, but I strongly encourage people to watch this one. Despite having brought me to tears, it actually offers a very hopeful message.

  • I’m confounded by the media’s apparent inability to just come right out and say it: the guy was a white supremacist.

    Just like this guy was:

    It would be just dandy with me if, rather than having a gun control debate this time around (since I think Page had just a 9mm handgun), we could have a national dialogue about the danged hate groups!

  • Polimom,

    I like your idea of expanding the discussion to include “hate groups.” There are two questions though that I feel compelled to ask.

    1. Who defines what constitutes a hate group? For many in our sharply divided society, a hate group is one they disagree with. Some progressives would define Tea Partiers as a hate group, or at least influenced by hate groups, or welcoming of hate group members…as an example.

    2. If we could somehow agree on what constitutes a hate group – and given our constitutional reverence for freedom of thought and expression – what would we be willing to do about it.

    Worth discussing IMO, but also full of traps and pitfalls. I’d be interested in hearing more of your thoughts.


  • Rcoutme

    Hate groups are the price we pay for living in a (relatively) free society. Meanwhile, it is not extra tragic that the Sikhs were likely mistaken (possibly) for Muslims–any innocent lives lost is a tragedy! After 9/11 many Muslim men were picked up on virtually non-existent charges (I read one that was picked up for filing an automatic extension to his VISA). The prison guards beat the shit out of them and constantly called them Osama.

  • Rcoutme

    edit…he was picked up for filing an automatic extension to his VISA late.

  • zephyr

    It would be just dandy with me if, rather than having a gun control debate this time around (since I think Page had just a 9mm handgun), we could have a national dialogue about the danged hate groups!

    Just to flesh that out, “9mm hangun” almost always means semi-auto high capacity magazine. By all means, have a “national dialogue” about the hate groups, but let’s try not to get too squeemish about the gun debate, which is long, long overdue in any case – at least in any serious, genuine way.

  • ordinarysparrow

    I am with you on this one tidbits… before we can define hate groups we firsts… need to get really clear on what is … and just how often it enters our political debates at every level these days…

    I find it interesting once again Polimom that you seem to pick out something that you think will minimize the need for gun more strict gun legislation? We need more time for clarity but what i have read it is a semi-automatic with capacity for large clips…

    Plus some have reported there was multiple guns.looking at hate groups sure does not rule out the need for how one like this can get access to guns.

  • ordinarysparrow

    cannot get my head around his position in the military coupled with this action…


    Psychological Operations (PSYOP) or Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR) is simply learning everything about the target enemy, their beliefs, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Once you know what motivates your target, you are ready to begin psychological operations.

    A proven winner in combat and peacetime, PSYOP is one of the oldest weapons in the arsenal of man.

    Psy-Ops specialists are responsible for the analysis, development and distribution of intelligence used for information and psychological effect; they research and analyze methods of influencing foreign populations.

    Psychological operations may be defined broadly as the planned use of communications to influence human attitudes and behavior … to create in target groups behavior, emotions, and attitudes that support the attainment of national objectives.

    The U.S. Department of Defense defines psychological warfare as:

    ‘The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.’ ”

    Read more:

  • “I find it interesting once again Polimom that you seem to pick out something that you think will minimize the need for gun more strict gun legislation? ”

    Eh? Sparrow, Sorry but I guess I don’t remember “picking out” something in the past, to minimize. I DO remember discussing, at great length, sizes of clips… as well as spending a fair amount of time trying to help some folks disengage from the fixation on “assault rifles”.

    In this particular case, I’ve read he had a 9mm. And that he had multiple magazines. I have not read what size they were, individually. If you are aiming to legislate away all semi-automatics, your hill is very very high. Good luck with that.

  • tidbits — I totally agree, we are sharply polarized and entrenched. We seem to have fallen into the habit of labeling those who disagree quite quickly. “Anti-abortion? You must HATE women!!” “Don’t agree with gay marriage? You must HATE gays!!”

    We seem to throw that word around a lot, and maybe I’m wrong but it seems to be a pretty recent phenomenon. But even within your question #1, you separate out groups who, for instance, potentially welcome hate groups — which seems to argue for a delineation?

    Also — I’ve been thinking alot this evening about that Homeland Security report a few years ago. Sent the right into a massive tizzy, but how far off the mark was it, really?

  • bluebelle

    Sometimes it is hard not to feel sick and disgusted with the frequency and savagery of these senseless events.

    Yes, you can focus on hate groups but they will always exist –for me it is still a gun control argument. Not too many are willing to listen, no matter how often this happens and no amount of violence results in a serious discussion about some common sense limits

  • Zeeuw

    I agree that gun control is too narrow a doorway through which to approach this issue, and that the role of far-right rhetoric needs more attention.

    However, I’m also wary of any attempt to regulate ‘hate groups’ and ‘hate speech.’ Though it would be disingenuous, I could see such regulations used to harass groups such as Occupy Wall Street [‘hates bankers’] and Greenpeace [‘hates whalers’].

    Also, allowing organizations to maintain public forums keeps them and their positions visible, rather than confined to sleeper cells out of range of Internet.

    I believe that the prevalence of the far right in American society is a battle being waged _ and won _ on a societal front. Most of us who lean liberal have been too polite or passive to defend our values in social situations, while the far right have been anything but. As a result the Jared Loughners and Wade Pages of the world grow up amid a tacit approval of subtle racism and intolerance, and the glorification of violence.

    This is a Civil War being fought at the backyard barbecue, at Church, at school, in the workplace lunchroom, and around the dinner table. Those of us who lean the other way have to grow a pair and ‘come out’ with our viewpoints more, even when we do face cultural discomfort.

  • Dr e, I have nothing in light gray near my name other than the date. 🙁

    • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

      I’ll ask tyrone and see if he knows why it shows on my cpu, but not elsewhere. Stay tuned.

  • adelinesdad

    Barky, I think your comment has been addressed, but I partly agree that this event does seem to have gotten less attention in the media than the Aurora shooting. That might be because fewer people died, or because we are worn out over talking about shootings. But, I won’t rule out that it might be because we, as a whole, don’t get as outraged when the victims aren’t as relatable to us. Of course, that’s not true of everyone, so don’t take offense. That might just be human nature, or subtle racism, I’m not sure.

    I’ve actually be pondering for many years why certain tragedies get more attention than others. I’ve concluded that it has little to do with the number of people that die. I haven’t put my finger on exactly what drives it, but it seems to have something to do with the randomness, uniqueness, intent of the agent, and proximity of the event. But should it? Isn’t one person killed just as tragic as any other? It might be too soon to discuss that, though.

    The only other thing I have to add to the discussion (for now): If the victims had been Muslims, obviously this would not have been any less tragic. I’m not trying to pick a fight with any previous commenters, who I’m sure would not disagree with that, but I think we need to be careful how we word the point. This tragedy and injustice was not one composed of mistaken identity.

  • dduck

    If this nut mistook Sikhs for Muslims, then it is a double tragedy. I agree with AD about the rest.
    I might add that IMHO the media coverage level is determined by its entertainment level and the opportunity for followup stories. Aurora had it all. The drama of a armor clad shooter at a action-packed Batman movie about other crazies and a surviving genius shooter to analyze and dissect. Unfortunately, the Sikh shooting has fewer dramatic angles and a dead shooter, as far as the media is concerned.

  • Clogger

    So it’s OK to shoot Muslims but not Sikhs ? have you lost your mind ?

  • sparrow

    How does someone trained by Army Psychological Operation not know the difference in Sikhs and Muslims?

    ” Psy-Ops specialists are responsible for the analysis, development and distribution of intelligence used for information and psychological effect; they research and analyze methods of influencing foreign populations. ”

    And why would ones like this that are on the watch list be cleared to purchase guns and ammo?

    I also wonder why we call these guys ‘lone wolf ‘ … in a perverted way, wonder if that feeds their sick identities? Calling them solo domestic terrorist is a more apt identification..

    Cannot speak for anyone but myself… with the Aurora mass murder i felt intense anger for days for the senseless brutal violence.. with the mass murder of the Sikhs there is a sickness of heart with a deep sadness.. desecrated that sacred people in their holy site…Valid or invalid when there are hate crimes it bring it home to us, whereas a insanity is more an individual defect….

    This one leaves me sober and reflective with questions that point to us as much to him….

    Not suggesting this is how it is for others, just how it is experienced here.

  • dduck

    Clog, If he was after Muslims and mistakenly killed the Sikhs, then that is the first

    Killing anyone, Sikhs, Muslims, any religion, race, creed, gender, political or sexual orientation, is equally wrong. Is that clear.

  • sparrow

    ” Killing anyone, Sikhs, Muslims, any religon, race, creed, gender, political or sexual orientation is equally wrong. Is that clear.”

    100% Amen

  • The_Ohioan

    To OS “And why would ones like this that are on the watch list be cleared to purchase guns and ammo?”

    The terrorist watch list has over 1 million names of foreign and domestic terrorists. This guy, and many like him, are on the lists of private organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center because they consider them dangerous, but until anything other than hatef speech occurs, the First Amendment protects them. Whether we want a group like the SPLC keeping tabs on people like this and whether that’s a First Amendment problem is another story.

    From the SPLC on domestic extremists:

    [Daryl Johnson, who headed the DHS unit responsible for analyzing security threats from non-Islamic domestic extremists, was the principal author of the April 7, 2009, report “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

    The report was intended only for distribution to law enforcement agencies. But after it was leaked to the media, a firestorm erupted among conservative commentators who wrongly claimed it equated conservatives with terrorists. Within days, Napolitano had disowned it.

    Johnson, who was interviewed for the upcoming summer issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, said that following the controversy, the DHS dismantled the intelligence team that studied the threat from right-wing extremists and that the department no longer produces its own analytical reports on that subject. When the 2009 report was written, there were six analysts in the unit, including Johnson. Today, he said, there is one.]

    The NRA had a hissy fit when that memo (the “Lone Wolf” memo) got into the mainstream and accused DHS of targeting veterans who just want to own guns. Napolitano caved and this tragedy may presage many other occurances. Apparently his less than honorable discharge didn’t warrent his being put on the watch list.

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