Wisconsin Sikh temple shooter Wade Michael Page did not hide his hatred

August 6, 2012 4:18:52 PM PDT
The gunman who shot up a Sikh worship service in Wisconsin did not hide his hatred. Wade Michael Page wrote about white supremacy. He sang about it. He organized a band to perform at white power gatherings.

At age 40, Page had been espousing hate for years. But it was Sunday, south of Milwaukee, that he acted on it.

When the shooting ended at Wisconsin's Sikh temple ended, six worshippers were dead, including an 84-year-old man. The gunman, Wade Michael Page, was also dead, fatally shot by a local police officer who is recovering from nearly a dozen bullet wounds.

Authorities now say Page acted alone.

"I don't know if we have a clear understanding of how he got there," said Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards. "We are still trying to determine that."

"There may be references to him in various files that is something being analyzed, but we had no reason to believe, as far as I know, no law enforcement had any reason to believe that he was planning, plotting or capable of such violence," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson.

But with songs such as "Self Destruct" that Page wrote for his white power band Definite Hate, his capabilities were on the radar of civil rights investigators for the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Our file on the shooter begins when he joined the U.S. Army in 1992. He was promoted to sergeant, and eventually worked in a special psychology operations unit, but was disciplined and demoted for being drunk on duty, receiving a general, less than honorable discharge in 1998.

Despite Page's white supremacy work, he was able to obtain gun licenses in North Carolina and Wisconsin, where he bought a Springfield 9 mm pistol on July 2 from a West Allis, Wisconsin, store.

"The firearm was purchased legally," said the ATF's Bernard Zapor. "The person who purchased it was not prohibited by federal law of being in possession of a firearm."

Page's only known conviction: 1994, in El Paso, Texas, kicking in the wall of a pool hall during a drunken tirade.

Page spent most of the past few years in North Carolina. In June he moved to Wisconsin and into a rental home he found on Craigslist. He was working at a metal plant until mid-July.

With the shooter dead and no one to prosecute, authorities are working to answer some haunting questions: Why did Page move from North Carolina to a small town in Wisconsin, where he had apparently never been? Why was the Sikh temple targeted? And was there something that prompted Page to carry out his attack at a certain time?

Monday afternoon, Page's family sent a statement of condolence to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , stating they "share in their grief for all who lost their lives that day and for those survivors, we hope for a speedy recovery. We have been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with the investigation in any way we can. Please respect our privacy as we try to deal with the tragic loss of life and family."

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