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Police: Gunman in Oak Creek Sikh Temple Shooting Acted Alone

Seven killed, four injured in shooting spree, including veteran Oak Creek police officer.

A 40-year-old Army veteran acted alone in Sunday's shooting of six people at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, authorities said Monday.

The shooter was identified by police as Wade Michael Page, who recently moved to Cudahy. Page was shot and killed by police at the scene.

"We have every reason to believe there was only one shooter ... though our investigation to that end continues," U.S. Attorney James Santelle said at a press conference Monday morning.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said a person of interest showed up on scene after the shooting. Someone told an officer the man looked suspicious. The person left before being questioned, Edwards said.

Multiple media outlets reported Monday afternoon the FBI found the man and he has been cleared.

Three bodies were found outside the temple at 7512 S. Howell Ave. and four were inside the building.

Authorities said five men and one woman were killed in the shootings. The victims were between the ages of 41 and 84.

At a news conference at Froedtert Hospital Monday afternoon, doctors said three people, including the officer, remain in critical condition. A fourth person was released from the hospital Sunday.

Officials said they are pursuing several leads but don't know of a motive yet.

"We are 24 hours out ... we are actively continuing with this investigation," Santelle said. "Many things (we) will not be able to comment on."

Officials said they are investigating the incident as possible domestic terrorism — defined as the use of violence for social or political reasons — and are looking into Page's background, including ties to white supremacy groups. 

The FBI had no reason to believe he was planning or plotting an attack, Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson said, nor did it know of threats against the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek.

Page did have previous contact with law enforcement, though Carlson did not get into specifics. Page served in the military from 1992 to 1998, was discharged and was ineligible for re-enlistment, according to Edwards.

SWAT team members searched Page's residence in Cudahy Sunday night, but Carlson did not reveal what was found. Agencies worked through the night at the Sikh Temple, which is still an active crime scene.

Carlson said authorities hope they can reopen the Sikh Temple later this week.

The gun used in the incident was purchased legally and Page was not prohibited from having one, said Bernard Zapor, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The Oak Creek police officer shot Sunday was identified as 51-year-old Lt. Brian Murphy, a 21-year veteran of the force. Officials said he was shot eight or nine times at a "close range", and is in critical condition. Murphy was the leader of the police department's tactical unit.

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Edwards said Murphy was the first officer on scene and was "ambushed" when he left his vehicle to come to the aid of a shooting victim. When other officers arrived to help Murphy, he waved them off and told them to go into the temple.

Twenty-seven agencies from Milwaukee County and the surrounding area responded to Sunday's incident after the first 911 call came in at 10:25 a.m.

Edwards said officers had to secure the building before they could enter, which added to the time victims had to wait inside.

"That is how we have to operate. They are the first responders, they need to get in and assist the people in there. And we can't do that if we're hurt," Edwards said. "That must seem like an eternity to those people who were inside there. But rest assured, we weren't waiting for any other reason (other than) to make sure nobody else outside was going to be hurt and we could get them out as safely as possible."

After they cleared the temple, officers searched about a three-square mile area, knocked on doors and spoke with about 200 residents.

"We want them all to know that this was the only shooter and there's nothing more to worry about as far as this situation goes," Edwards said.

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi said that heroic actions of officers prevented an even greater tragedy for a community that is still in shock.

"Sunday was a tragic day for our city, especially given that it occurred in a place of worship," Scaffidi said. "Oak Creek is a diverse, welcoming city. We host 23 places of worship, and the Sikh community is part of that."

Edwards said the department trains for active-shooter situations and the officers did exactly what is expected of them.

"In my mind, they're all heroes," he said. "I was asked today, what do you think of their actions. It didn't surprise me in the least."

Sikh members also praised the response of police during the news conference while expressing worry that more people like Page are out there.

"How many other people might there be like him that are a threat that we don't know about — that's the problem with these types of situations," Carlson said. "That's why we need the community's support because sometimes these people don't come to law enforcement's attention until it's too late. People do need to be vigilant and look for suspicious behavior and report them."

Later Monday, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation ordering flags to be flown at half-staff.

He also commented on the shootings, saying they occur with "too much regularity," according to a Journal Sentinel report.

Gov. Scott Walker was in Oak Creek today and met with law enforcement officers and first responders.

He tweeted that he also dropped by the Salvation Army to thank volunteers.

Matt Johnson August 07, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Will, WTF? Are you that big of a moron or just need some attention? Mommy ain't giving you any?
Dirk Gutzmiller August 07, 2012 at 01:19 PM
If there is anything at all amusing but also scary is how someone like Will Joseph makes a comment, and his point is then actually reinforced by some crude and vulgar Tea Party member's barroom talk, like Matt Johnson's. Chilling...even more so since the bloodbath Sunday.
Dirk Gutzmiller August 07, 2012 at 01:23 PM
sis - Sadly, many Democrats also take NRA contributions.
Taoist Crocodile August 07, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Speaking of which, has anyone seen a post from "Johnny Blade" recently? That guy fits the profile for sure.
Steve ® August 07, 2012 at 01:42 PM
If you're going to shoot up a bunch of people at least do us a favor and pick a good target. These Sikh's are the last people that you need to terrorize.
Carrie August 07, 2012 at 02:02 PM
If you saw how many officers, dogs and vehicles there were searching the woods and subdivision to the SE of the temple Sunday night, well after they said there was only one shooter, you'd definitely wonder if they are covering up something...
Greg in OC August 07, 2012 at 02:09 PM
I'm so sick of every event being turned into a political war. Can't you leave the rhetoric out of a tragedy like this?
Taoist Crocodile August 07, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Pray tell, Steve, who would be a good target? If you were going to "shoot up a bunch of people," who would it be? Inquiring minds and law enforcement want to know.
oak creek resident August 07, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Wow, Dirk you just lost any bit of relevance with a comment like that.
ConcealCarry August 07, 2012 at 02:57 PM
You certainly are a panty waist, Dirk. It's okay little fella, we conceal carry types will protect your 98 pound weakling frame from the bad guys.
Karen August 07, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Can you people stop and re-read your posts? Seriously how is this any good? You are using words as weapons against eachother. Stop fueling the fires!
Satori August 07, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Had to change your handle Alfred? To many embarrassing posts in your past?
Sarah W. August 07, 2012 at 03:34 PM
@ Karen. Agreed...@everyone else ...You all sound so insensitive. What happened today and days before that are all a tragedy. This world today is beginning to disgust me!
Bren August 07, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Hey Steve the "job creator." I would fascinated to sit in on one of your staff meetings. ; )
Bren August 07, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I'll nominate GearHead as a runner up for most "content free" poster.
James R Hoffa August 07, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Way to perpetuate the hate Will! Dirk and Taoist are upset at you for making the supposedly tolerant left look bad on this board!
James R Hoffa August 07, 2012 at 04:06 PM
@Taoist - You're just on a roll with your hate attacks, aren't you? It's a good way to honor the memory of the unjustly fallen - spreading the hate, isn't it? Again, what in the hell is the matter with you?
Will Joseph August 07, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Yes, yes, yes. "Conceal And Carry" will solve ALL of these problems. After all, it worked well at the Gabby Giffords / Tucson massacre. And it worked at the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater massacre. AND it worked at the Sikh temple massacre. And ... Oh, wait, that's right. No, it DIDN'T work. (Special salute to Dirk for "getting it." Which, apparently, is BEYOND the rest of these cousin-loving, stump-jumper posters ...)
Will Joseph August 07, 2012 at 09:38 PM
http://www.theonion.com/articles/michele-bachmann-thankful-no-americans-died-in-sik,29071/ True. So true.
robert heule August 08, 2012 at 12:40 AM
House Speaker John Boehner should reprimand Michelle Bachmann. Remove her from all committees. The MN. GOP should remove her from the ballot if that is legally possible
mmlgreendale August 08, 2012 at 01:34 AM
This comment seems to say that the FBI should arrest everyone they have every tracked because they have been interested in white supremacy group? That's a bit unrealistic. This guy didn't have a police record, was not dishonorably discharged, could have been anyone's brother as far as we knew. He just sent Grandma flowers. Not that I support him but do you really think Obama should have done something about this guy? Really? That is very unrealistic.
mmlgreendale August 08, 2012 at 01:39 AM
No I think Will might be right but the Tea Party folks may not like a different race.
mmlgreendale August 08, 2012 at 01:43 AM
lol typical bachmann comment!
Dirk Gutzmiller August 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM
oak creek resident and ConcealCarry (Alfred) help us understand the mentality of the ultra-right-wing underground. They really do not know how to defend themselves, except with phallic guns and hate. Even more chilling.
Dirk Gutzmiller August 08, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Bren - Steve's business could be something like a private security firm, e.g., Blackwater, or a contractor for the Mafia, or a high-volume gun shop, so his comment might be considered business appropriate.
Johnny Blade August 08, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Yahoo just reported the gunman killed himself with a gunshot to the head .. Hmmm interesting .. Who is lying .. Witness said 4 men in black starting killing people .. witness in Colorado said more than one gunman “The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” -Thomas Jefferson
Johnny Blade August 08, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Q. Whats the difference between Will Joseph and a Karl Marx useful Idiot A: Yeah, I know. I couldn't think of a difference, either ...
Steve ® August 08, 2012 at 06:03 PM
It's sad you all feel the Sikh's are a good target.
Bren August 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Don't pout, Steve the Job Creator. Who would you suggest is a "good target?" People who don't agree with you? Late employees? Dirk, I'll confess to being very curious about what type of business Steve the Job Creator has.
Milwaukeesucks August 09, 2012 at 04:27 AM
I noticed that the "person of interest" had a 9/11 tattoo on his arm just like the shooter. He has been cleared by the FBI but one has to wonder what this dork white guy was doing filming the staging area of this event? Since he has been cleared I'd say he is a Homeland Security agent and the FBI now has egg on it's face for exposing a fellow agent! Note to dorky White Fed Agents: cover up your 9/11 tattoos!

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