Seven dead in 'terror' gun attack on US Sikh temple
MILWAUKEE -- A gunman attacked worshippers on Sunday at a suburban Sikh temple in the midwestern United States, killing at least six people before he was himself shot dead by police.
The police commander at the scene in Oak Creek, near Milwaukee in Wisconsin, said he and federal agents were treating the mass shooting as a suspected act of "domestic terrorism," though the shooter's motive was unclear.
|Not entirely sure yet that this is 'domestic terrorism' as opposed to a psychopath/sociopath like Aurora.|
Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards told reporters that his officers had responded to a 911 call and raced to the temple, where one was "ambushed" and shot multiple times before a colleague took down the gunman. The suspect died, as did six others shot in and near the temple. Three men, including the wounded officer, were taken to a Milwaukee hospital, where a medic said they were in "critical condition."
Japal Singh, 29, spoke to several fellow parishioners about what happened and said that while people were still confused, some things were now clear. A man who dropped his father off at the temple, known to Sikhs as a "gurudwara," said he saw the shooter -- described as a white man with a bald head -- kill two people in the parking lot.
"Then he went down inside the temple and then went into the room where the holy scripture is kept and basically shot more people there, multiple people there," said Singh, a combat medic in the US Army reserve.
Witnesses told Singh it was "a horrible place, a lot of blood and basically screams of everybody. Children, women, everybody. It was chaotic inside. People didn't know what was going on."
Police did not confirm the identity of the shooter, although media reports said that the FBI had confirmed his name and had launched a raid at his home.
"We looked at it, the scope of it and what the implications might be. We are treating it as a domestic terrorist incident," Edwards said, adding that there was thought have been only one shooter and that the scene was secure.
Police tactical units were on the scene, along with officers from multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Sapreet Kaur, executive director of the Sikh Coalition, which represents the community in the United States, said police should be allowed to investigate but he suspected a hate crime had taken place.
"There have been multiple hate crime shootings within the Sikh community in recent years and the natural impulse of our community is to unfortunately assume the same in this case," he said. "Americans died today in a senseless act of violence, and Americans of all faiths should stand in unified support with their Sikh brothers and sisters."
Posted by: Steve White