Gurdwara shooter 'frustrated neo-Nazi', attended hate events
The 40-year-old ex-army veteran who killed six people at a gurdwara in the US regularly attended hate events, was an ardent believer in the white supremacist movement and was associated with rock bands whose violent music talked about murdering Jews and black people. Children who spotted shooter seen as heroes | US flags to fly at half-staff | Sikhs and the American extremist | Gunman kills six at US gurdwaraworld Updated: Aug 07, 2012 12:35 IST
The 40-year-old ex-army veteran who killed six people at a gurdwara in the US regularly attended hate events, was an ardent believer in the white supremacist movement and was associated with rock bands whose violent music talked about murdering Jews and black people.
Wade Michael Page was shot and killed by a police officer in the parking lot of the Oak Creek gurdwara after he wounded another police agent and killed six persons as the preparations were underway for Sunday morning prayers.
According to the profile of Page that has emerged through people and civil organisations which monitored his actions, he was a "frustrated neo-Nazi" who had been the leader of a racist white-power band known as End Apathy.
Director of Southern Poverty Law Center's intelligence project Heidi Beirich told the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel that her group had been tracking Page since 2000, when he tried to purchase goods from well-known hate group National Alliance.
Beirich said there was "no question" Page was an ardent follower and believer in the white supremacist movement.
She said her center, which had studied hate crimes for decades, had evidence that Page attended "hate events" around the country.
Page had once said in a 2010 interview posted on the website of the record company Label56 that his music was about "how the value of human life has been degraded by tyranny."
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a New York Times report that the music that comes from the kind of bands Page was affiliated with is "incredibly violent, and it talks about murdering Jews, black people, gay people and a whole host of other enemies."
In the interview posted Label56's website, Page talks about going to an annual white-supremacist festival 'Hammerfest' and said he played in various neo-Nazi bands, including Blue Eyed Devils.
One of the songs by the band includes the lines, 'Now I'll fight for my race and nation/Sieg Heil!' Author and analyst on counterterrorism JM Berger said Page "clearly had a history with the white supremacist movement."
Another song by a band that Page played in refers to words like "our race war" and "What has happened to America/That was once so white and free."
According to the SITE Monitoring Service, which follows white supremacist trends, Page had an extensive presence on Hammerskin and other white nationalist websites, including 'Stormfront'.
The 2010 interview also reveals Page as a man who felt he was holding himself back when it came to accomplishing "positive results... in our sick society."
He said his band's songs "vary from sociological issues, religion and how the value of human life has been degraded by being submissive to tyranny and hypocrisy that we are subjugated to."
"A lot of what I realised at the time was that if we could figure out how to end people's apathetic ways it would be the start towards moving forward," Page is quoted as saying.
"Of course after that it requires discipline, strict discipline, to stay the course in our sick society.
Record company Label 56 expressed grief at the tragedy and said in a statement that the firm has worked hard over the years to promote a positive image and have posted many articles encouraging people to take a positive path in life, to abstain from drugs, alcohol.
Page also discusses other bands he's been affiliated with, including self-described "American Nationalist" band 'Youngblood' and 'Definite Hate', a group captured in a 2007 YouTube video performing in front of a Nazi flag superimposed with the image of Adolf Hitler's head.
After serving in the US Army from 1992-1998, Page is believed to have worked as a truck driver from 2006 to 2010 in North Carolina.
Further, records from the Cumberland County, North Carolina Sheriff's Department show Page was issued five permits to purchase pistols in May of 2008.
David Brown, 62, Page's neighbour in the South Milwaukee apartment building described him as a recluse. He was "not a friendly guy," he said.
The Journal Sentinel quoted a statement from Wade Page's family as saying that it was "devastated by the horrific events" that occurred in the Oak Creek gurdwara on Sunday.
"While there can be no words of comfort that will make sense of what happened that day, please be aware that our thoughts and prayers go out to all he victims and their families," the statement said adding that the family is cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation.
First Published: Aug 07, 2012 12:26 IST