Wisconsin: The gunman who went on a killing spree inside a Wisconsin gurudwara was a "40-year-old white man with a 9/11 tattoo" on his arm, according to eyewitnesses.
|A member of the Sikh temple where the shooting took place, cries outside it
US media identified the suspect, who was shot dead during an exchange of gunfire with police on Sunday, as Wade Michael Page, who once served in the military.
Pentagon said Monday that he was a former US Army "psychological operations specialist" who had served between April 1992 and October 1998, ending his career at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The six victims of the senseless shootout included the gurudwara president and a priest, but names of the other victims were not made public. When the gunman opened fire, the president Satwant Kaleka tried to attack him outside the temple.
Wounded, Kaleka, 65, made it inside, hid with others in a room, and died there. The priest killed was identified as Parkash Singh, who was described as quiet and gentle.
Kanwardeep a nephew of Kaleka, said the attacker was bald, dressed in T-shirt and black pants and with a 9/ 11 tattoo on one arm — which "implies to me that there's some level of hate crime there".
Some members of the community told local news channels that Sikhs were targeted in hate crimes following the September 11 attacks. The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in US since 9/11, which is blamed on anti-Islamic sentiment.
They said that people often falsely identify them as Muslims because of their bearded and turbaned appearance. Kanwardeep said that the gunman started shooting in the parking lot and killed at least one person there. Satpal Kaleka, wife of the president, saw the gunman enter, according to another nephew, Harpreet.
"He did not speak, he just began shooting," said Harpreet, relaying a description of the attack from Satpal. He said the 6-foot gunman who worshippers had never seen before at the temple seemed like he had a purpose and knew where he was going.
When the gunfire finally ended in a shootout between the gunman and police outside the temple, seven people lay dead, including the suspect, and three others were critically wounded in what police have described as “an act of domestic terrorism”.
Cops search suspect's home for motive
Early on Monday, just hours after the shooting, police were searching an apartment at a duplex in the Cudahy neighbourhood near Milwaukee, presumed to be the home of the gunman. Generators and floodlights were set up along the street and a bomb squad was on the scene.
They questioned Kurt Weins, who lives in the 3700 block of E Holmes Avenue in Cudahy. He said he rented the property to a man he believed “to be from Chicago with no record of violence in Wisconsin", Milwaukee- Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported.
Authorities did not tell Weins whether his tenant was the shooting suspect, but the description matched that of the suspect, the report said. Tattoos on the body of the slain gunman and certain biographical details led FBI to treat the attack as an act of domestic terrorism, Los Angeles Times said, quoting sources.
Witnesses said he had a tattoo marking the 2001 attacks. Authorities confirmed he had tattoos but they were not sure what it illustrated.