Gurdwara shooting: FBI looks for motive, India shocked (Fourth Lead)

August 6th, 2012 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Washington/New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) The US investigating agency FBI has begun to look for the motive behind Sunday’s deadly attack on a gurdwara that left six people dead, even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed deep shock over the shooting. The gunman, who was shot dead, sported a 9/11 tattoo.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is probing the attack at the gurdwara in a Milwaukee suburb as an act of domestic terrorism but no motive has been determined.

FBI officials confirmed Sunday night that they are investigating a home in Cudahy, Wisconsin - presumably that of the shooter - in relation to the shooting, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Oak Creek police officers who responded to a 911 call just before 10.30 a.m. Sunday about the shooting were helping a victim when the shooter ambushed one of the officers, shooting the officer multiple times, said Oak Creek police chief John Edwards.

A second Oak Creek officer returned fire, killing the shooter, Edwards said.

According to the local news channel TMJ 4, the president of the gurdwara, Satwant Singh Kaleka, is said to be one of the shooting victims. No other name has been released so far.

Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, a member of the congregation, said the attacker was described as a bald, white man, who wore a white T-shirt and black pants. The killer had a 9/11 tattoo on one arm - which “implies to me that there’s some level of hate crime there”, CNN quoted Kaleka as saying.

White House officials said President Barack Obama was notified of the shootings shortly before 1 p.m. by John Brennan, his homeland security adviser.

Calling Sikhs “a part of our broader American family”, Obama in a White House statement promised his administration’s full support to the response and investigation of Sunday’s rampage.

“As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family,” he said.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday expressed deep shock and sadness over the shooting. He hoped the US authorities would probe the attack and ensure that such “ghastly events” do not take place in future.

Speaking to reporters at Parliament House, the prime minister, a Sikh, said: “It is a very sad occurrence, the senseless killing of people who gathered at a religions congregation. It happened under tragic circumstances, it makes me enormously sad.”

“I hope the American authorities will investigate whoever is behind this dastardly attack on devotees and will ensure that such ghastly events do not take place. The US president has issued a statement, I welcome that…”

Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao had sent a special officer to Wisconsin.

The minister also said the security of gurdwaras and other religious places of communities in the US should be taken care of.

“It is a very shocking and tragic incident that has taken place, which is deplorable,” said Kaur, also a Sikh.

Messages of condemnation and sympathy poured in from community organisations and US political leaders.

The Indian embassy issued a statement that it is “seized of the situation and has been in touch with the National Security Council”.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, as we all struggle to comprehend the evil that begets this terrible violence,” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said in a statement issued by his office.

The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh American civil rights organisation in the US, said it has been in touch with both the FBI’s Civil Rights Division and the White House and both have promised to continue to be in touch with its staff as they monitor the situation closely.

With over 25 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with over 700,000 followers in the US, the coalition said.

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