August 17, 2012
Americans pour out for mourning of Sikh shooting BROOKFIELD, Wisconsin: Americans poured out in hundreds to offer support and join solemn farewell prayers for the six victims of a shooting tragedy in a Sikh gurudwara in Oak Creek. One by one, the mourners in barefoot stepped forward to bow down their heads to pay their last farewell at the mourning organized at a Gurdwara just 40-kms from the scene of the bloodshed. Dozens more stood in the lobby to register their support as there was no room for them to join the prayers. The mourners, mostly white Americans, were touched when the grief-stricken Sikh community opened the doors of the Brookfield gurudwara to embrace hundreds who came to offer their support in the aftermath of the shooting. "I came with my family to show our support to the grief-stricken people. It was a bad man who did the killings," a tearful Hope Bailey of Muskego told the local Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As Bailey and others tentatively approached the entrance to the temple, unsure of how to proceed into a faith different from their own, they were warmly "welcomed by temple members and given brightly-colored scarves to
cover their heads," the journal said. The parking lot of the Gurudwara was filled with cars by the time the funeral services started at 7pm local time. Local police squads were there to give the mourners a feeling of safety.
A candle light vigil marked the closure of the funeral ceremony. The community elders told the American mourners, "We want you to come and see us and ask us questions to know that we are peace lovingâ€? Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker accompanied by his wife Tonette joined the mourners, removing his shoes and donning the scarf, to enter the Gurudwara. "We're very sorry,' Walker told the community leaders."You have our support and prayers." The Sikh women and children worked in the community kitchen to roll out more than 500 meals for
the mourners. Large television screens projected translations of the funeral service. A candle light vigil marked the closure of the funeral ceremony, with a Sikh girl Kiranjeet Kaur (25) saying "this is where the American culture meets Sikh tradition." The community elders told the American mourners, "We want you to come and see us and ask us questions to know that we are a peace loving community and not Muslim extremists." Gurcharan Singh Grewal, president of the Brookfield Gurdwara said, "We expected this after (the terrorist attacks of) 9/11 but we didn't expect it to this magnitude." US officials also joined the funeral, with James Santelle, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, telling the mourners, "We are with you tonight in spirit and physical to convey our deepest sympathies and let you know that our hearts break along with yours." "The Sikh has one if it's fundamental tenets of principles of notion of tolerance of all people and tolerance of all faiths," said Santelle. "I join you in that spirit and that tenet and that belief - that is what the United States of America is all about." -PTI
Gurduwara shooter died of self-inflicted gunshot: FBI NEW YORK: The gunman who killed six people at a Gurduwara in Wisconsin died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head after he was shot by police, the FBI announced it was still treating the case as an "act of domestic terrorism". Wade Michael Page, 40, a former US soldier and a singer with a neo-Nazi punk band, was initially said to have been killed by a police officer who challenged him as he went on shooting spree at the Gurduwara. "Page died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head. He was first shot by an officer in the stomach that injured him," Special Agent Teresa Carlson, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Milwaukee office, said in a press conference in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Carlson said investigators had videotape related to the officer shooting Page. The officer shot Page in the stomach and "subse-
quent to that wound, it appears that Page died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head." The FBI is working round the clock on the investigation. "We have not identified anyone else responsible for the
The law enforcement agents have conducted 100 interviews nationwide of families, associates and neighbors of Page. It has issued 180 federal subpeonas shooting," Carlson, also the leader of the investigation, said. Police said Page acted alone, but they distributed a photo of the man, saying they wanted to iden-
tify and question him. "The photo helped authorities to find the man, who was cooperative and continuing to cooperate," Carlson said. "We have not clearly defined a motive at this point and the case is still being treated as an act of domestic terrorism," she said. The law enforcement agents have conducted 100 interviews nationwide of families, associates and neighbors of Page. It has issued 180 federal subpeonas and has 101 leads pending worldwide. It recovered 139 items from the parking lot and also going through emails and telephone accounts of Page. The video camera inside the Gurduwara was not on and so the FBI does not have any video coverage of the shooting inside the place of worship, she said. Earlier, US authorities arrested Page's exgirlfriend Misty Cook for the offence of being in possession of a fire arm as a felon. -PTI
People across US mourn gurudwara shooting victims WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: eminent community members deHundreds of people from various scribed the incident as an "ugly, walks of life, Indian-Americans in dark day in the history of particular, gathered in cities across America." the US to mourn the killing of six Those participating in the vigil Sikh worshippers at a Wisconsin said no other community has been gurudwara, describing the inci- "hurt or targeted more" than the dent as an "ugly and dark day" in Sikhs in the aftermath of the 9/11 the US history. attacks in the US and the main reaBe it Manhattan in New York son behind such discrimination is City, the Lafayette Square Park in ignorance. front of the White House in WashAddressing the community ington or places like Boston, Chi- members at the vigil in Manhatcago and San Francisco, the mood tan, US Congressman Joe Crowley was same everywhere, with said if people are attacked and people, including children and killed in places of worship in the women, displaying pictures of the country, then this is not the six worshippers shot dead by a America he has known. lone gunman at the Oak Creek Crowley said it is crucial that a gurudwara. Observing August 8 as a National Day of No other community has Remembrance and Solibeen "hurt or targeted more" darity, they also prominently displayed the than the Sikhs in the afterpictures of police officer math of the 9/11 attacks in Bryan Murphy, who rethe US and the main reason ceived multiple gun shots wounds when ex- behind such discrimination army veteran Wade is ignorance Michael Page fired at him after he had indiscriminately shot and killed the six conversation is started in the people at the Oak Creek country that questions how weapgurudwara. ons end up in the hands of crimiPeople held up candles and nals. wore T-shirts on which was writ"We have to talk about limitten "We are all Sikhs. Oak Creek ing access of weapons for crimiWisconsin". They carried banners nal use. Those people who were and posters that read "We are all shot and killed in the gurudwara one," "We are American, we are and their families need to hear anSikh, we are one" and "Proud to swers about how a mentally unbe a Sikh." stable person like Page had easy They pledged that they would access to guns, which took the emerge much stronger than ever lives of others," he said. "What in the aftermath of this tragedy. happened to the Sikh community Addressing the gatherings, can happen to anyone of us."-PTI
Congressmen condemn shooting India Post News Service
WASHINGTON, DC: Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements in reaction to this tragic event: Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chair: "I am shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence that targeted the Sikh American community of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in their own house of worship. My thoughts are with the victims and their families as we try to understand what led to this tragedy. I have worked closely with the Sikh American community for decades and know of their tremendous contributions to our country. While the exact motivations of the shooter are still unknown, I hope that Americans of all faiths and
backgrounds can come together to prevent incidents like this from ever happening again." Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: "My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims affected. No community should have to be faced with such terrible violence, especially one that takes place in a serene and peaceful place like a house of worship. I have been proud to closely work with the Sikh community through my career and am horrified that such senseless violence would fall at their doorstep. Yet, as we struggle to comprehend these tragic events, I know that it will be the strength and the character of the peace-loving Sikh community along with the selflessness of the larger American community that will guide us in these difficult times."