Police identified the gunman who killed six people at a Wisconsin Sikh temple as a 40-year-old US Army veteran, and a monitor of extremists said he was a member of a racist skinhead band.
Oak Creek police chief John Edwards told a news conference on Monday that the gunman, who was shot dead by police at the scene on Sunday, was named Wade Michael Page, a former US soldier who served from 1992 to 1998.
The gunman shot dead six people and seriously wounded three, including a police officer, at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin as worshippers prepared for religious services.
Military sources said Page had been discharged from the Army in 1998 for “patterns of misconduct” and had been cited for being drunk on duty.
Page had served in the military for six years but was never posted overseas. He was a psychological operations specialist and missile repairman who was last stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the sources said.
In June 1998 he was disciplined for being drunk on duty and had his rank reduced to specialist from sergeant. He was not eligible to re-enlist. Page had been a member of the racist skinhead band End Apathy, based in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 2010, said Heidi Beirich, director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) in Montgomery, Alabama.
He also tried to buy goods from the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group, in 2000, she said. The SPLC describes the National Alliance on its website as “perhaps the most dangerous and best organised neo-Nazi formation in America.”
In a 2010 online interview with End Apathy’s record label Label56, Page said he had founded the band in 2005 because “I realised ... that if we could figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways, it would be the start towards moving forward.”
Police searched an apartment at a duplex in the Cudahy neighbourhood near Milwaukee, presumed to be the residence of the gunman. Generators and floodlights were set up along the street and a bomb squad was on the scene.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2012.