Wisconsin Temple Shooting: Alleged Gunman Identified as Army Vet
(OAK CREEK, Wis.) — Former soldier Wade Michael Page was identified today as the lone gunman who killed six people at a Sikh religious center in Oak Creek, Wis.
Page was described by authorities Monday as an Army veteran who left the service with a general discharge following a “pattern of misconduct,” including being AWOL and drunk while on duty. The terms of his discharge would not allow him to reenlist.
Officials said they believe Page alone was responsible for Sunday’s shooting.
Page, 40, served in the Army from April 1992 through October 1998, during which he was demoted from sergeant to specialist.
While in the Army Wade served 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, a defense official confirmed to ABC news.
The ex-soldier is believed to be the gunman who opened fire on people at the Sikh temple around 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning and killed six people. The victims ranged in age from 39 to 84.
He also ambushed police Lt. Brian Murphy, shooting him eight or nine times, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said. Murphy is expected to survive. Two other gunshot victims are in critical condition, police said.
Page was shot dead by police when he was ordered to drop his weapon and began firing at them instead.
Police have not given any details on the motive of the shooter, but Teresa Carlson, the FBI’s special agent in charge, said today, “We are looking at ties to white supremacist groups.”
Earlier, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco; Firearms Special Agent Thomas Ahern said Page had tattoos that suggested he had ties to white supremacists.
Page fronted a white supremacist rock band called End Apathy, according to watchdog group the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC also determined that in 2000, Page attempted to purchase goods from the neo-Nazi group the National Alliance, described as America’s then “most important hate group.”
In 2010, Page gave an interview to white-power website Label 56. Page wrote songs with titles like “Self Destruct” and “Usefull [sic] Idiots.”
“The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole,” Page told Label 56.
The ATF today said Page legally purchased the 9mm handgun with multiple ammunition magazines, he used during the rampage. The weapon bought at The Shooters Shop in West Allis, Wis., sources told ABC News.
Carlson and other officials said investigators had no “reason to believe” Page was planning Sunday’s attack.
“We didn’t have an active investigation into him prior to yesterday,” she told reporters today.
On Sunday the FBI and a bomb squad arrived at a home in Cudahy, Wis., near Oak Creek, and ABC News Milwaukee affiliate WISN reported the action appeared to be related to the temple shootings earlier in the day.
“The officer stopped a tragic event that could’ve been a lot worse,” Edwards told reporters.
Four people were found dead inside the temple and two others were found dead outside the building. Edwards said authorities were treating the event as a domestic terrorism incident and the FBI would be conducting a full investigation.
Individuals attending Sunday services at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, just south of Milwaukee, fled in all directions when a gunman entered and began firing. Many hid in bathrooms or other rooms within the temple while the shooter attacked, according to police.
On Sundays, Sikh temples, called gurudwaras, serve a community meal at which anyone is welcome as part of their community service. The meal, known as a langar, follows the morning services.
The Sikh religion originated in the Punjab region of India.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio