(AFP) – Aug 8, 2012
CHICAGO — The man who opened fire in a Sikh temple in the United States, killing six people, apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head rather than from police fire, the FBI said Wednesday.
Wade Michael Page, a singer with a neo-Nazi punk band, was initially said to have been killed by a police officer who stopped Sunday's rampage in a suburban place of worship by shooting the assailant in the stomach.
But FBI Special Agent Teresa Carlson, the head of the agency's Milwaukee office and leader of the investigation, said: "Subsequent to that wound, it appears that Page died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head."
Carlson told reporters that FBI investigators have not yet established a motive for the shootings in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and have not found any evidence that anyone else other then Page was involved in the crime.
She also confirmed that Wade's former girlfriend, Misty Cook, was arrested on Sunday at her home on a weapons charge but said this was unconnected to the broader domestic terrorism investigation into the temple shooting.
President Barack Obama meanwhile phoned Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to offer condolences over the shooting at the Sikh temple.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama paid tribute in the call to the contributions of the Sikh community in the United States and that the two leaders spoke of their shared commitment to tolerance and religious freedom.
"The president expressed his condolences to the prime minister because, as you know, several of the victims of the shooting in Wisconsin were Indian nationals," Carney said in Washington.
"I think we can all acknowledge that we have got to put an end to this kind of senseless violence," Obama said later at a campaign stop in Colorado.
"As one American family, we are going to have to come together and look at all the approaches we can take to try to bring an end to it."
Obama did not mention any specific policy approaches to stem gun violence, despite some recent calls by advocates for more stringent gun laws in the wake of two mass shootings -- in Colorado and Wisconsin -- in less than a month.
Obama favors applying existing legislation to prevent those not allowed to carry firearms from acquiring them, and measures that are consistent with the constitutional right for Americans to bear arms.
In South Milwaukee, police and FBI agents were interviewing Cook after the temple attack and noticed that she had a weapon despite being banned from owning a firearm because of a previous felony conviction, Carlson said.
Investigators have interviewed more than 100 people, including Page's family, associates, employers and neighbors, and were pursuing more than 100 new leads, Carlson said.
"We have conducted physical searches of his residence, his vehicle, a rented storage locker, and also space he had at a former employer."
The gunman, who was a singer in a so-called "white power" band, seems to have drifted from job to job since leaving the army in 1998, and local media reported that he described non-whites as "dirt people."
A former army colleague recalled that Page had spoken of securing a homeland for whites.
"It didn't matter if they were black, Indian, Native American, Latin -- he hated them all," Fred Allen Lucas, who served with Page at Fort Bragg military garrison, told the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
"He criticized me for my attraction to (Latina) women," said Lucas, of Bloomington, Indiana.
"He'd call me a 'race-traitor.' He said I should change my ways because I was a blond-haired, blue-eyed white guy, and I shouldn't be wasting myself."
Page served as a US military "psychological operations specialist" between April 1992 and October 1998, ending his career at the base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home to the US Army's airborne forces and Special Operations Command.
He was a qualified parachutist who received several good conduct awards and a National Defense Service Medal, but never won significant promotion.
The FBI, which did not have an active file on Page before the killings, has made the shooting the subject of a "domestic terrorism" probe and Page's ties to white supremacist groups are being scrutinized.
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