HOUSTON A Houston couple s family member was among many that ran for cover when a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage in a religious temple in a suburban Milwaukee community Sunday. Army Veteran Michael Page killed six people and critically wounded three others before he was killed in a shootout with police.
Page stormed into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin as several dozen prepared for Sunday service and began firing with a 9 mm handgun. Frightened congregants hid in closets while calling for help andtexting friends and family members.
D. Kaur s cousin and two children had left a short while before the shooting, but her aunt was still there when bullets began to fly. She survived. The women called their relieved family members in Houston shortly after the shooting. Kaur said things could have been a lot worse.
Around 10 in the morning, there are probably going to be fewer people, but as the day goes on, there could be hundreds, Kaur said. She struggled to understand exactly how someone could commit such a heinous act against a group of people. A man comes in and purposefully goes around shooting people he doesn t even know. It s more than a shooting; it s a massacre of innocent individuals.
Page joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998, according to a defense official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information yet about the suspect.
He was a frustrated neo-Nazi who led a racist white supremacist band, the Southern Poverty Law Center said Monday. Page told a white supremacist website in an interview in 2010 that he had been part of the white-power music scene since 2000 when he left his native Colorado and started the band, End Apathy, in 2005, the nonprofit civil rights organization said.
Police Chief John Edwards said Monday that authorities in Milwaukee didn t have any run-ins with Page before Sunday s shootings and the FBI believes he acted alone.
Kaur s husband, Dr. Desh Singh, said this and the recent mass shooting ata Colorado movietheaterleave him wondering what drives a person to react in this way.
When the Aurora shootings happened, it was a great day of mourning for all of us as Americans. And to see this happen again, it s profoundly saddening and closer to us because our family members my wife s family members were involved and so I think the grief is even deeper for us, but no less painful, he said. It makes me wonder as a physician what is happening that our young men feel compelled to engage in such random and senseless and atrocious acts of violence in this country, which we still feel is the greatest country on the face of the Earth.
The couple feels people should be educated about customary Sikhbeards and turbans. Sikh men are often confused with Muslims and have been the targets of a number of hate crimes since the September 2011 attacks.
The fact that this happened in a setting where one would think that there is a sense of sanctity and safety, I think, is profoundly unsettling for me as I am sure it is for any American, Dr. Singh said. One of the foundations for this great country is the freedom of worship, the freedom to worship fearlessly and we feel that this is an attack against that, in much the same way that the Aurora massacre was an attack against the profound sense of safety and security that we all enjoy out in public.
This should never happen again in our society, Kaur said.