Sikh temple massacre: Gunman was convicted criminal who'd been 'looked at' by Federal authorities due to white supremacist links

Wade Michael
Page was nonetheless able to
legally purchase the 9mm handgun and ammunition used in Sunday’s attack.

Los Angeles

The gunman who
killed six worshipers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin was a convicted criminal
who had been brought to the attention of Federal authorities and monitored by
civil rights groups because of his ties to the white supremacist movement.

Wade Michael Page, a skinhead who played guitar in neo-Nazi rock bands, had been prosecuted for drunken driving and criminal mischief. But he was nonetheless able to legally purchase the 9mm handgun and ammunition used in Sunday’s attack.

“He brought it legally; he was not an ineligible person,” said James Santelle, the US attorney for the disctrict which takes in Oak Creek, the town near Milwaukee where the mass-shooting was carried out.

The Los Angeles Times reported today that federal investigators had repeatedly “looked at” claims that Page was helping fund domestic terror groups in recent years. He played guitar for several skinhead rock bands, and had been pictured performing under Swastikas.

Citing an un-named “senior US law-enforcement official,” the newspaper added that authorities had been unable to find sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to open any formal investigation.

Page, 40, arrived at the Temple at around 10am, as regulars were gathering for a weekly service. Witnesses say he approached a priest standing outside, shot him, then reloaded and entered the building’s lobby. Blood evidence suggests that he was then injured in a struggle with a second man, who later died from his wounds.

Police arrived shortly afterwards and shot Page dead. One officer remains in hospital after being among the three people seriously wounded. The attack is being treated as a “hate crime” and there are suspicions that he wrongly believed the victims to be Muslims.

Teresa Carlson, the FBI official in charge of the investigation into Sunday’s attack told reporters that the agency was now: “looking into [Page’s] ties to the white supremacist movement.” She added that investigators currently had no evidence to suggest that Page had any accomplices."The definition of domestic terrorism is the use of violence for social or political gain. That's obviously what we are looking at."

It has meanwhile emerged that Page was jailed in Texas for 60 days in the mid-1990s after being found guilty of “criminal mischief,” and had also racked up at least one drink-driving conviction. Neither his criminal record, nor the fact that authorities had looked at his suspected links to far-right terrorist groups, were enough to prevent him passing the federal background check required to legally purchase firearms in the US.

The Springfield semi-automatic handgun used in the attack was duly purchased at a local gun-store called The Shooter Shop. Small, easily concealed, and capable of firing large amounts of ammunition in a short time, is similar to the handguns used by both James Holmes, the perpetrator of the Aurora cinema shooting, and Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people, and wounded Congresswoman Gabriell Giffords, in Tuscon last year.

The attack has sparked widespread soul-searching among the 500,000 Sikhs who live across America, and have been victims of hundreds of reported hate-crimes in the years since 9/11. On Monday night, hundreds gathered at a temple in the nearby town off Brookfield to pay their respects to victims. Scott Walker, the State’s governor, told community leaders that: “in addition to mourning with you, we support you.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor