By Ryan Ngala
Oak Creek, Wisconsin – With the news that arrived this afternoon that there have been another terrible outburst of violence, a shooting, a very bad one, inside a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee, there was a lot of confusion initially as police responded and the first victims were airlifted out. Tonight the details have become clear and this incident is initially being treated as an act of domestic terrorism; that description comes from local authorities. The FBI is now on the scene as well and law enforcement officials telling NBC News details about this alleged gunman. They said he’s a man in his thirties, he was wearing tactical gear during the attack, and he was armed with a single hand gun. Officials are now searching what they believe is his home, looking for clues about his motive.
The 911 calls began at 10:25am. There was gunfire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. Worshippers said one service had ended and another was about to begin; families where gathering with small children. “Our officer 20 year veteran, was ambushed, shot multiple times, he is currently at the hospital undergoing surgery, we expect him to recover” said Chief John Edwards of the Oak Creek Police Department. The officer was rushed to Milwaukee hospital along with at least 9 other wounded victims. “And another officer, who was unseen, was engaged by the suspect, our officer did engage that individual, and that individual was deceased” Chief Edwards added.
Authorities said they found 4 people dead inside the temple and two more bodies outside. In the chaos, many people hid throughout the building. For hours police combed through the Temple bringing out survivors. For family members outside, it was an agonizing wait. “Well my mom, she was one of the ladies that was hiding in the pantry and she called us around eleven, and she told us, she called us very quick and she whispered, she said don’t come she’s like there’s a shooting here” one victim said. Some of the children attending services were as young as 4 years old, “My kids are like 5, we were late today, you know we were just like 10 to 15 minutes late you know, otherwise my kids would be dead in there too” one man said.
Others in the local community who are Sikhs rushed to the scene looking for answers, “Biggest question, we have is just a hate crime, I mean what did we do wrong, since 9/11 we have small attacks on the community” one victim said. There have been incidents nationwide were Sikhs have been mistakenly targeted by anti-Muslims groups, “This is such a tragedy, and hopefully we can use this event to educate Americans about our seek religion” the same victim added. Tonight for the second time in a little more than two weeks, both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are expressing their condolences to the families of the victims of another mass shooting.
Officials said the gunman, whom they identified as Wade Michael Page, walked into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday and opened fire with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun as several dozen people prepared for morning services. The victims ranged in age from 39 to 84, authorities said. Three others were wounded and remain in critical condition, including 51-year-old veteran police officer Brian Murphy.
Wade Michael Page, 40, turned his 9mm semi-automatic handgun on himself after being shot in the stomach by a police officer who responded to the scene in Oak Creek, Wis. Authorities had previously had said Page was killed with a rifle shot from an Oak Creek police officer after he refused to put down his weapon and fired at the officer. Teresa Carlson, special agent in charge of the FBI in Milwaukee, said investigators reviewed videotape that showed Page died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.