Just days after he killed six people and wounded four others in a random act of violence at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Army veteran Wade Michael Page's past involvement in white supremacy and skinhead bands was becoming clearer.
Page, 40, entered the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, a Wisconsin suburb, on Sunday, shooting randomly at congregants with a 9mm handgun. Six men and one women between the ages of 39 and 84 were killed, including the temple president and a Sikh priest.
Page was then shot and killed by police responding to the scene after he opened fire and killed 21-year Oak Park police veteran Brian Murphy.
The FBI, who are in charge of the investigation because of the nature of the crime, are classifying the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.
Page was a member of at least two skinhead bands and frequently posted messages on white supremacist internet boards urging others to be more active and involved.
Photos of Page playing the bass can be seen on the MySpace page of skinhead band Definite Hate, a skinhead band whose album covers feature racist hand-drawn sketches such as a white hand punching a black man and a noose with Confederate flag in the background.
Page was also a member of the skinhead band "End Apathy" and sported multiple tattoos, including one of the number 14, standing for the popular supremacist statement "14 words" - "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
Page was discharged from the Army in 1998 after serving for six years, first as a Hawk missile system repairman and later as a psychological operations trainee at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
Army spokesman George Wright said he was never deployed overseas in the psych ops role. He was discharged for getting drunk on duty and going AWOL. He was not eligible for re-enlistment.
After working for a trucking company from 2006 until 2010, from which he was also fired for being drunk, Page moved to the Milwaukee suburb of Cudahy, renting a room and keeping mostly to himself.
He remained largely off radar until the shooting Sunday. He made no announcement nor did he issue any manifesto or statement of purpose before the shooting.
Page legally purchased the Springfield 9mm semiautomatic handgun at the Shooter's Shop in Milwaukee. FBI investigators say all evidence points to Page acting on his own as a lone gunman.
Members of the Sikh community, friends and local politicians held a vigil in Brookfield, Wisconsin to mourn the dead on Monday. Gov. Scott Walker and members of the temple congregation were in attendance.
Americans of the Sikh faith say attacks on their temples have skyrocketed since 9/11. Although they are not Muslims, the adherents to the faith - the fifth largest religion in the world with 30 million members - are often mistaken for Arabs or Muslims because the men wear turbans and have long beards.
Sikhism is a monotheistic faith which espouses universal equality of all people regardless of color, caste, race, gender or religion. The Sikh holy book, or Guru Granth Sahib, contains teachings from multiple religions including Hinduism and Sufism (Islamic mysticism).
by RTT Staff Writer
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