The gunman who killed six worshipers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin was identified as a 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran and authorities said they were investigating possible links to white supremacist groups and his membership in skinhead rock bands, reports Reuters.
Page had long been among the hundreds of names on the radar of organizations monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of his ties to the white supremacist movement and his role as the leader of a white-power band called End Apathy.
Page served as a soldier in the Army from 1992 to 1998, police chief John Edwards said in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek where the 400-member temple is located.
A MySpace page for his band that appears to be one of those identified by the SPLC, End Apathy, includes songs with titles such as “Self Destruct,” “Submission” and “Insignificant,” as well as pictures of three heavily tattooed band members.
“The music is a sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress,” the band’s profile says.
Meanwhile, The New York Times writes that Oak Creek’s police chief, John Edwards, speaking at the news conference, identified the five men and one woman who died at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin: Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Prakash Singh, 39; Paramjit Kaur, 41; Suveg Singh, 84; and Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, who was the center’s president.
FBI special agent Teresa Carlson said authorities were interviewing Page’s family and associates searching for a motive behind the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. A fourth person was wounded less seriously.
“We don’t have any reason to believe that there was anyone else” involved in the crime. Law enforcement officials said earlier on Monday they wanted to speak with a “person of interest” who was at the temple on Sunday, but by late afternoon they had ruled out any connection between him and the shooting.
In an interview posted on the Web site of the record company Label56, Page mentioned going to Hammerfest, an annual white-supremacist festival well known to civil rights advocates.
Page also said he played in various neo-Nazi bands, including Blue Eyed Devils, whose song “White Victory” includes the lines: “Now I’ll fight for my race and nation/Sieg Heil!” The company removed the interview from its site on Monday.
He declared that he wanted to “end people’s apathetic ways” and that “I was holding myself back,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Page nited he had been part of the white power movement since 2000.
“The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole,” he said in the interview with Label 56.
Moreover, Page had an extensive presence on Hammerskin and other white nationalist Web sites, including Stormfront, where he favored the names of his bands as user names and “frequently included white supremacist symbolism” in his postings.
The shooting came just over two weeks after a gunman killed 12 people at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, where they were watching a screening of the new Batman movie.
President Barack Obama urged Americans to do more “soul searching” to find ways to reduce violence.
“All of us recognize that these kinds of terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity,” Obama said at a White House bill-signing ceremony when asked whether further gun control measures were needed.