NEW YORK, Aug 5 (APP): Seven people were killed, including a gunman, and three others were wounded in an attack Sunday at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee, a suburban town in the US State of Wisconsin, American media reports cited police as saying. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said four of the dead were inside the temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and three of the dead were outside, including the gunman. The newspaper said Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards labeled the shooting as a case of domestic terrorism. The suspect was a bald, white man, approximately 40 years old, said Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Authorities did not release his identity. The gunman ambushed and shot a
police officer who was responding to an emergency call and helping a
shooting victim, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said. A second
officer shot and killed the gunman.
Edwards said he had no identification for the shooter nor information on what kind of weapon or weapons he had. The victims’ identities and descriptions were not made public. The wounded officer, a 20-year veteran, was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.
Hospital officials said two other victims, also in critical condition, were being treated. Law enforcement personnel surrounded and searched a gray, two-storey house in the Cudahy neighborhood presumed to be the residence of the gunman on Sunday evening.
Generators and floodlights were set up along the middle-class block. A
police source confirmed that a search warrant had been issued for the
house, and a bomb squad was on the scene.
Temple member and U.S. Army Reserve combat medic Jagpal Singh, 29, said people who were at the service when the shooting broke out described to him a scene of chaos and confusion. Worshippers scrambled to escape the gunfire, but some tragically ran in the wrong direction.
Others survived the rampage by locking themselves in bathrooms, he said. Turban-wearing Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is overseeing the probe into shootings, Edwards
said.“We’re treating this as a domestic terrorist incident,” he told
Officials had no details about a possible motive. Milwaukee’s Froedtert
Hospital said three male victims included one who had been shot in the
abdomen, one in the extremities and face, and a third who was hit in the
The Oak Creek shooting was the latest in a series of suburban U.S. gun rampages. Organizations fighting gun violence rate Wisconsin’s gun safety laws from low to moderate. There are no limits on the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time, nor on the possession or transfer of assault weapons, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Sunday’s attack came just over two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58. In January 2011, then-congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords was the target of an assassination attempt in which six people were killed and 13 were wounded in Tucson, Arizona.
“The gunman is worse than the one at the theater a couple of weeks ago because he targeted an entire community,” said Jagatjit Sidhu, who was among dozens of temple members and onlookers gathered near the sealed off temple.
President Barack Obama was briefed by counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and FBI director Bob Mueller and told the situation at the temple was “under control.”
“The president said that he wanted to make sure that as we denounce this senseless act of violence we also underscore how much our country has been enriched by our Sikh community,” the White House said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has said that American Muslims “stand with their Sikh brothers and sisters”
following a deadly shooting attack targeting a house of worship of that
faith on Sunday in Wisconsin.
“While details of the attack and the motivation of the attacker are still emerging, American Muslims stand with their Sikh brothers and sisters in this time of crisis and loss,” a statement released Monday by the Muslim civil rights group said.
“We condemn this senseless act of violence, pray for those who were killed or injured and offer sincere condolences to their loved ones.”
CAIR officials are in contact with the Milwaukee Muslim community as it offers support to its Sikh neighbours, the statement added.