Sikh temple gunman was ex-soldier linked to racist group
By Brendan O'Brien and James B. Kelleher
OAK CREEK, Wisconsin (Reuters) - The gunman who killed six worshipers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin was identified as a 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran and authorities said they were investigating possible links to white supremacist groups and his membership in skinhead rock bands.
The assailant, shot dead by police at the scene on Sunday, was identified as Wade Michael Page. He served as a soldier in the Army from 1992 to 1998, said police chief John Edwards in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek where the 400-member temple is located.
Survivors described women and children hiding in the pantry of the temple's community kitchen as the gunman stormed through the building. "Everyone was falling on top of one another," said Parminder Toor, 54, speaking in Punjabi as her daughter-in-law, Jaskiran Kaur, translated.
"It was dark and we were all crammed in." One of the women who made it into the pantry had been shot in the hand, and there was "blood everywhere," said Toor.
Federal authorities said they were treating the attack as a possible act of domestic terrorism.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, Page was a member of two racist bands named End Apathy and Definite Hate, "a band whose album 'Violent Victory' featured a gruesome drawing of a disembodied white arm punching a black man in the face."
A MySpace page for a band that appears to be one of those identified by the SPLC, End Apathy, includes songs with titles such as "Self Destruct," "Submission" and "Insignificant," as well as pictures of three heavily tattooed band members.
"The music is a sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress," the band's profile says. Continued...