US probes motive of attacker

US probes motive of attacker

US investigators were hunting for answers on Monday after a former psy-ops soldier attacked at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and killed six people before he was shot dead by police.

Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old white male formerly attached to the US Army base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was a “psychological operations specialist.”

Local police said they are investigating the shootings as a “domestic terrorism type incident” but have not spoken publicly about the shooter’s motives, amid reports that he had white supremacist tattoos.

“While the FBI is investigating whether this matter might be an act of domestic terrorism, no motive has been determined at this time,” Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson said in a statement.

Three men, including a member of a police unit called to the scene on Sunday, were reported to be in critical condition with gunshot wounds.

The killings were condemned by US President Barack Obama. The attack was the second massacre to shock the United States in under three weeks and will doubtless boost pressure on Obama and his rival Mitt Romney to address gun control before the November 6 presidential election.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards told reporters that officers had responded to a 911 call and raced to the temple, where one of them was “ambushed” and shot several times before a colleague took down the gunman. The suspect died, as did six others he had shot in and near the temple. Three men, including the wounded officer, were taken to a Milwaukee hospital, where a medic said they were in “critical condition.”

Witnesses described a bloody scene of confusion and terror as the gunman strode into the temple and opened fire as people gathered for Sunday services. Japal Singh, 29, spoke to several fellow parishioners about what happened and said that while people were still confused, some things were now clear.

A man who dropped his father off at the gurudwara, said he saw the shooter kill two people in the parking lot. “Then he went down inside the temple and then went into the room where the holy scripture is kept and basically shot more people there, multiple people there,” said Singh, a combat medic in the US Army reserve.

Dozens of members of the Sikh community descended on the temple and were held back behind a police cordon, anxiously scanning their phones for news of friends and relatives in the temple. “Our priest, he’s dead. One of my friends’ grandfathers, he’s dead... No matter who’s hurt, we’re all family,” Harinder Kaur, a 22-year-old student, said.

There are between 500,000 and 700,000 Sikhs in the US.

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