Authorities have identified the suspected gunman behind the Wisconsin shooting as Wade Michael Page, a retired US Army official and frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of racist white power band.
The alleged gunman is said to have opened fire on a congregation of worshippers in a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, killing six.
Eye witnesses at the scene of the crime say the gunman opened fire at about 10 a.m. when some dozen worshippers ere already gathered. It is unclear how many were injured, but the spokeswoman for the trauma center in the area said three victims were being treated there including one who had undergone surgery.
Besides the six worshippers killed in the Sikh temple attack, reports say the Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, the first officer to the scene of the crime, was ambushed and shot nine times while he was attempting to help a victim.
The officer returned fire and killed suspect, Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt said.
Police investigations are revealing more about the Page, who was a decorated army officer. Photographs have emerged showing the alleged shooter standing in front of a Nazi symbol. He is said to have ties to white supremacist groups and is a member of a heavy metal band that promoted the “white power” agenda.
The Daily Beast reported that Page joined a skinhead band in 2011.
According to the LA Times, Federal investigators had looked into Page more than once because of his associations with right wing extremists and the possibility that he was providing funding to a domestic terrorist group.
US President Barack Obama, responding to the shooting said mass killings in the United States were happing with “too much regularity”. He called on Americans to do some soul searching on ways to reduce gun violence.
“All of us are heart-broken by what happened,” Obama said according to a Reuters report.
Wisconsin state governor, Scott Walker has ordered flags fly at half staff in memory of the victims.
“The people of Wisconsin join the Sikh community in mourning those killed yesterday and in remembering their lives,” said Governor Scott Walker. “As our state comes together to care for the survivors, our hope is that the families and the whole Oak Creek community find healing and strength in the memory of their loved ones.”
President Obama has also ordered that flags in US government offices around the country and the world over fly at half staff as well.