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At least six worshippers have been shot dead after a gunman opened fire on a congregation in a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Witnesses said several dozen people had been gathering for a service when the attack unfolded at around 10am local time.
Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt said the first officer to arrive encountered a man police believe was the shooter. The two exchanged gunfire, and the suspect was killed, he said.
A man wipes away a tear at the scene of the shooting
Mr Wentlandt said police do not believe a second shooter was involved. He said tactical units went through the temple. They found four people dead inside and three outside the building, including the suspected shooter, he said.
It's unclear how many others were wounded. Mr Wentlandt said he had been told the officer who exchanged gunfire with the suspect and another person had been taken to hospitals. He said the officer was shot multiple times and is in surgery.
The spokeswoman for the area trauma center said three victims were being treated there, including one in surgery.
Sukhwindar Nagr, of Racine, said he called his brother-in-law's phone and a priest at the temple answered and told him that his brother-in-law had been shot, along with three priests. The priest also said women and children were hiding in closets in the temple, Nagr said.
Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in bias attacks since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the US since then, which advocates blame on anti-Islamic sentiment. Sikhs don't practice the same religion as Muslims, but their long beards and turbans often cause them to be mistaken for Muslims, advocates say.
Sikhism is a monotheistic faith that was founded in South Asia more than 500 years ago. It has roughly 27 million followers worldwide.
Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair; male followers often cover their heads with turbans - which are considered sacred - and refrain from shaving their beards.
Photos from the scene:
08/07/2012 6:16 AM EDT
Gun Used In Wisconsin Shooting Popular In Mass Attacks
Wisconsin shooter Wade Michael Page used a Springfield 9mm semiautomatic handgun to carry out the attack at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., Reuters reported. According to gun experts, the semiautomatic handgun is the same type used in other recent U.S. mass shootings, including one at a theater in Colorado and the attack on a congresswoman in Arizona.
08/07/2012 12:36 AM EDT
Lawmaker Urges FBI To Count Hate Crimes Against Sikhs
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) has for months been advocating that the FBI collect data on hate crimes against Sikh Americans. Sunday's tragedy in Wisconsin, in which six people were killed at a Sikh temple, underscores his push.
"This is not the first time that Sikhs have been attacked," Crowley, whose New York City district includes parts of Queens and the Bronx, told The Huffington Post in an interview on Monday. "Unfortunately it's been growing consistently, on an ongoing basis. That's what my concern has been."
08/06/2012 8:44 PM EDT
Feds 'Looked At' Gunman On Multiple Occasions Prior To Shooting
Wade Michael Page was the subject of federal attention more than once prior to Sunday's deadly shooting, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Federal investigators had “looked at” Sikh temple gunman Wade Michael Page more than once because of his associations with right-wing extremists and the possibility that he was providing funding to a domestic terrorist group, but law enforcement officials at the time determined there was not enough evidence of a crime to open an investigation, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said.
Full story here.
08/06/2012 7:03 PM EDT
Obama: America Needs "Soul Searching" On Gun Violence
President Barack Obama said on Monday that mass killings like the weekend shooting rampage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin were happening with "too much regularity" and should prompt soul searching by all Americans on ways to reduce gun violence.
"All of us are heart-broken by what happened," Obama told reporters at the White House a day after a gunman opened fire on Sikh worshippers preparing for religious services, killing six before he was shot dead by a police officer.
Asked whether he would push for more gun-control measures in the wake of the shootings, Obama said he wanted to bring together leaders at all levels of American society to examine ways to curb gun violence.
That echoed his pledge last month in a speech in New Orleans to work broadly to "arrive at a consensus" on the contentious issue after a deadly Colorado shooting spree highlighted the issue in an election year. But like his earlier comments, Obama offered no timetable or specifics for such discussions.
Full story here.
08/06/2012 6:24 PM EDT
Band Spotlights Skinhead Hate Music
The connections between mass media and mass murder are often tenuous -- commentators were reluctant, for example, to indict the "Dark Knight" movie trilogy for the horrific shootings at Aurora, Colo., three weeks ago.
But it's harder to dismiss the revelation that Wade Michael Page, the man shot to death by police after a shooting spree that killed six worshipers in a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin on Sunday, belonged to a hardcore skinhead band called End Apathy.
Why? Because according to TJ Lindley, who was an active skinhead for 15 years before defecting and writing a book about his experiences, bands like End Apathy often have direct connections with the white supremacy movement.
"If you're in a white supremacy band, you are extremely active. You do not get involved in a band and doing stuff like that unless you are completely 100-percent dedicated to the movement," Lindley said.
Read more here.
08/06/2012 6:20 PM EDT
Shooting Suspect's White Power Past
Alleged Sikh temple shooter Wade Michael Page joined a skinhead group in 2011 and played in bands with violent lyrics. The Daily Beast's Eliza Shapiro explains why he’s been on the Anti-Defamation League’s radar.
08/06/2012 6:09 PM EDT
A Final Act Of Heroism
Oak Creek (Wis.) Patch reports:
Satwant Singh Kaleka’s final action at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin was one of heroism.
When Wade Michael Page, the suspected gunman in Sunday’s tragic shooting, opened fire, the 65-year-old temple president rushed to stop him — possibly preventing more deaths.
“He was trying his best to give time for people to get to security,” said his son, Amardeep Kaleka, during a news conference at the Salvation Army in Oak Creek Monday.
Full story here.
08/06/2012 5:50 PM EDT
How You Can Help
Funds are starting to be set up for victims and families affected by Sunday's tragic shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Head over to HuffPost Impact for a roundup of ways you can help.
08/06/2012 5:38 PM EDT
Obama Orders Flags At Half Staff In Wisconsin
Via HuffPost Politics:
President Barack Obama ordered flags at all U.S. government facilities both at home and abroad to be flown at half-staff Monday, a response to a mass-shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin over the weekend.
"As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, August 10, 2012," Obama wrote in the proclamation.
Full story here.
08/06/2012 5:18 PM EDT
Former Army Psychiatrist Addresses Whether Suspect May Have Had PTSD
Dr. Harry Croft, a former Army psychiatrist who has evaluated more than 7,000 PTSD patients, delivered an emailed statement to The Huffington Post on this possibility:
"People need to be cautious and not jump to conclusions that this was another soldier suffering from PTSD or another mental condition. It’s quite possible his military background played no part in this, because it would appear that if he served from 92-98, he would have not been deployed in Desert Storm, Iraq or Afghanistan - and it’s extremely unlikely for a veteran suffering PTSD or other mental condition would commit such a heinous act."
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