The shooter who opened fire before worship services Sunday at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek and killed six people before he was killed by police is Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran, U.S. Attorney James A. Santelle said Monday.
He said officials believe he purchased the 9mm handgun legally in Wisconsin.
Page, 40, served in the military approximately between 1992 and 1998, Santelle said. Other sources familiar with the investigation said Page was assigned to psychological operations, or PsyOps. He apparently was last stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.
As members of the Sikh community in Milwaukee and worldwide mourned the dead, details of Page's background - his time in Colorado and North Carolina before his recent arrival at a duplex in Cudahy, Wis. - began to emerge, including ties to white supremacist groups.
A statement Monday afternoon from Page's family, texted to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, said the family was "devastated by the horrific events" and asked for privacy.
At a 10 a.m. news briefing in Oak Creek, officials identified the Oak Creek police officer who was shot when he responded to the temple as Lt. Brian Murphy, 51, an experienced member of the department's tactical unit. Murphy was a finalist for the Oak Creek police chief post in 2010 and has 21 years with the department
Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, the temple president, was killed Sunday after attempting to tackle the gunman.
Oak Creek police identified the other victims Monday as Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Prakash Singh, 39; Paramjit Kaur, 41; and Suveg Singh, 84.
Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said during the news conference that Murphy was the first officer on the scene and came upon a victim in the temple parking lot. As Murphy was going to assist the victim, who is among the dead, he was ambushed by the gunman. Murphy was shot eight to nine times at "very close range" with a handgun, one of the shots striking his neck area, Edwards said.
Other officers arriving on the scene heard shots but did not know Murphy had been wounded, Edwards said. They saw the gunman, ordered him to drop his weapon and put his hands up, but he did not, Edwards said.
The gunman fired at officers and the bullets struck squad cars. At that point, an officer with a rifle shot and killed the suspect, Edwards said. He did not identify that officer, saying that a separate investigation was being conducted as a result of the officer-involved shooting. The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office and the Milwaukee Police Department are working on that investigation.
Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, confirmed Monday that the officer who killed the shooter is Sam Lenda, a 32-year veteran police officer. Lenda has also taught at Milwaukee Area Technical College, according to the college's website.
"Officer Lenda does not consider himself a hero and has said as much," said Palmer, whose union has talked with Lenda. "I think he fits the definition to a T."
Murphy is in critical condition but is expected to survive, Edwards said.
In a statement issued through Froedtert Hospital, Murphy's family said: "We are grateful to so many who addressed Brian's needs at the scene and continue to do so at the hospital. We ask that you respect our family's privacy during this very difficult time. We are not alone in coping with yesterday's tragedy. As we stand by Brian and pray for his recovery, we extend condolences to the family of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident. Our thoughts also go out to the entire Sikh community."
Most Popular Stories
- SpaceX's Satellite Launch Is 'Game-Changer'
- Reid Confident Congress to Pass Immigration Bill
- Maui Visitor Killed in Shark Attack
- Donors Abandon GOP Over Gun Stance
- Mexico: 'Extremely Dangerous' Radioactive Material Stolen
- Climate Change Early Warning System Urged
- Private Sector Employment Surges by 215,000 Jobs
- Wisconsin Gov. Campaign Aide Fired Over Tweets
- Newtown 911 Tapes Being Released Today
- CEOs More Optimistic About Economy, Hiring