Was the gurdwara shooter a white supremacist? (Third Lead)

August 6th, 2012 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 6 (IANS) As FBI looked for a motive for Sunday’s attack on a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin, media reports suggested the gunman, a bald man with a 9/11 tattoo on one arm, may have been a white supremacist.

More details about the shooter, who shot six worshippers to death and wounded three at the gurdwara in a Milwaukee suburb before he himself was killed by police, may emerge at a press conference later Monday, CNN said citing a law enforcement source.

However, sources cited by Fox News identified the shooter as Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old ex-soldier who was at one time was attached to the Fort Bragg Army installation in North Carolina.

FBI is treating the gurdwara shooting as an act of domestic terrorism but the motive of the attack remained unclear Monday.

Satwant Kaleka, president of the temple, was one of those shot. According to multiple sources he attempted to tackle the suspect as he sprayed gunfire inside the temple.

Meanwhile, federal agents and the county sheriff’s bomb squad swarmed a neighbourhood in nearby Cudahy and asked two blocks of residents to leave the area or remain indoors before starting a search at the home of the shooter.

FBI agents reached the spot with an armoured truck, a trailer and other vehicles. Other law enforcement officers were there too, along with a police dog, Fox News said.

A resident, Kurt Weins, told the Journal Sentinel he rented out the upper flat of the duplex to a man in his 40s.

“I had him checked out and he definitely checked out,” Weins told the newspaper. “The cops told me they don’t want me to say nothing right now.”

Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, a gurdwara member who was outside the temple, said those inside described the attacker as a bald white man, dressed in a white T-shirt and black pants and with a 9/11 tattoo on one arm — which “implies to me that there’s some level of hate crime there”.

The victims ranged in age from their late 20s to about 70, Justice Singh Khalsa, a temple member since the 1990s, who helped translate witness accounts for authorities, told CNN.

The three people who were wounded remained in critical condition early Monday morning at Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital. One had been shot in the abdomen and chest, another in the face, and the third in the neck, the hospital said.

Because of their customary beards and turbans, Sikh men are often confused with Muslims, and they have been the targets of hate crimes since the Sep 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

The Sikh Coalition, a New York-based advocacy group, has reported more than 700 attacks or bias-related incidents since 9/11.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

–Indo-Asian News Service

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