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Gunman in Sikh temple attack was white supremacist

By Todd Richmond

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Aug. 6 2012 11:31 a.m. MDT

Indian Sikhs shout slogans in front of the U.S Consulate during a protest in Hyderabad, India, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 to condemn Sunday's shooting at a Sikh temple in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday that he was shocked and saddened by the shooting attack that killed six people.

Mahesh Kumar A., Associated Press

OAK CREEK, Wis. — The gunman who killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin before being shot to death by police was identified Monday as a 40-year-old Army veteran and former leader of a white supremacist heavy metal band.

Wade Michael Page strode into the temple carrying a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition and opened fire without saying a word, authorities said.

When the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee ended, six victims ranging in age from 39 to 84 years old lay dead. Three others were critically wounded.

Page, who joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998, was described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "frustrated neo-Nazi" who was active in the obscure underworld of white supremacist music.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., said Page had been on the white-power music scene for more than a decade, playing in bands known as Definite Hate and End Apathy.

"The name of the band seems to reflect what he went out and actually did," said Potok. The music often includes lyrics that discuss genocide against Jews and other minorities.

In a 2010 interview, Page told a white supremacist website that he became active in white-power music in 2000, when he left his native Colorado and started the band End Apathy in 2005.

He told the website his "inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole," according to the law center. He did not mention violence.

End Apathy's MySpace page said the group was based in Nashville, N.C.

Joseph Rackley of Nashville, N.C., said Monday that Page lived with his son for about six months last year in a house on Rackley's property. Wade was bald and had tattoos all over his arms, Rackley said, but he doesn't remember what they depicted. He said he wasn't aware of any ties Page had to white supremacists.

"I'm not a nosy kind of guy," Rackley said. "When he stayed with my son, I don't even know if Wade played music. But my son plays alternative music, and periodically I'd have to call them because I could hear more than I wanted to hear."

Page joined the military in Milwaukee in 1992 and was a repairman for the Hawk missile system before switching jobs to become one of the Army's psychological operations specialists assigned to a battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C.

As a psyops specialist, Page would have trained to host public meetings between locals and American forces, use leaflet campaigns in a conflict zone or use loudspeakers to communicate with enemy soldiers.

He never deployed overseas while serving in that role, Pentagon spokesman George Wright said.

Page was demoted in June 1998 for getting drunk while on duty and going AWOL, two defense officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information about the gunman.

Page also received extra duty and was fined. The defense officials said they had no other details about the incident, such as how long Page was gone or whether he turned himself in.

Online records show Page had a brief criminal history in other states, including pleading guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief after a 1994 arrest in El Paso. He received six months' probation. Page also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Colorado in 1999 but never completed a sentence that included alcohol treatment, records show.

Suburban Milwaukee police had no contact with Page before Sunday's shooting, and his record gave no indication he was capable of such violence, authorities said.

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