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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
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: Provisioning Specialist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Provisioning Specialist is required to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Apprenticeships

£10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an outstanding opportunity for 1...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Support Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Support Engineer is required to join a well-...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Administrator - Swedish Speaking

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an awa...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum