At least seven people were killed and 25 injured in a shooting at a gurdwara in Oak Creek in the US state of Wisconsin late Sunday morning. Three of the injured are said to be in a critical condition. A gunman, presumed to be on his own, was shot dead by the police.
Four of the killed were inside the gurdwara and the remaining three, including the suspected gunman, were shot outside. The police were unable to comment on the motive. “Seven people have died in the shooting,” said police chief Bradley Wentlandt. Local, state and federal agencies were involved in the investigation. Swat teams were searching the premises for other gunmen, if any. The Indian embassy said it was “seized of the situation and in touch with the National Security Council in Washington, DC”.
“Our hearts bleed for the precious & innocent lives lost in Oak Creek,” said Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao on Twitter. “We must maintain calm.” The shooting was reported around 10.30am local time. US President Barack Obama had been informed.
Two Sikh men were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Elk Grove, California, in March 2011 while on a morning walk. After the 9/11 attacks, there have been incidents of hate crimes against Sikhs, mistaken by many to be members of another ethnic community because of their turbans.
|At the Sunday shooting site, Greenfield police chief Brad Wentlandt said one suspect had been “put down” outside the gurdwara after shooting a police officer, but could not confirm the toll or whether other gunmen were still inside the building. “An officer arrived, engaged the shooter and was shot multiple times,” Wentlandt told reporte
“That shooter was put down... At this time, we do not know if there are other shooters inside the temple.” The officer was being treated.
A gurdwara committee member said based on communication with people inside the gurdwara, the shooter was a white male in his 30s. “We have no idea,” what the motive could be, he told the newspaper. “It’s pretty much a hate crime. It’s not an insider.”
Sikhs who wear turbans and sport beards have at times been mistaken for Muslims and targeted by anti-Muslim activists, particularly after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.Sunday’s shooting bore some similarities to a March 2005 incident in Brookfield that saw a gunman kill seven worshippers and himself during a church service at a hotel.