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Wade Michael PAGE






Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: White supremacist - Mass shooting at a Sikh temple
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: August 5, 2012
Date of birth: November 11, 1971
Victims profile: One woman: Paramjit Kaur, 41; and five men: Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, the founder of the temple; Prakash Singh, 39, an assistant priest; Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; and Suveg Singh, 84
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Oak Creek, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after he was shot in the stomach by a responding police officer
photo gallery

On August 5, 2012, Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four others in a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after he was shot in the stomach by a responding police officer.

Page was an American white supremacist and United States Army veteran from Cudahy, Wisconsin. All of the dead were members of the Sikh faith. The incident drew notable reactions from President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Dignitaries attended candlelight vigils in countries such as the U.S., Canada, and India. The First Lady Michelle Obama visited the temple on August 23, 2012.


Following emergency calls around 10:25 a.m. CDT, police responded to a shooting at a Sikh gurdwara located in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. On arrival, they engaged the gunman, later identified as Wade Michael Page, who had shot several people at the temple, killing six. Page wounded an officer; after being shot in the stomach by another, he fatally shot himself in the head. He was armed with a Springfield XD(M) 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol. Page had legally purchased the gun in Wisconsin. Four people were killed inside the temple, and three people, including Page, died outside. Page killed five men and one woman, ranging in age from 39 to 84.

Three men were transported to Froedtert Hospital, including one of the responding officers.

Initial reports said the gunman had died from being shot by police officers at the scene, but the FBI later clarified that Page, after being shot by an officer, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities released an audio recording of the incident, made while the first responding officer, Lieutenant Brian Murphy, was shot by the gunman. It contained the words "I have someone walking out the driveway towards me. Man with a gun, white t-shirt," followed by the sound of gunfire. In September 2012, authorities released video recordings taken by squad cars during the incident, including the moments when Murphy was shot, and the gunman being shot by another officer. Murphy was shot fifteen times by Page, but survived.

The temple was preparing langar, a Sikh communal meal, for later in the day. Witnesses suggested that women and children would have been at the temple preparing for the meal at the time of the incident, as children’s classes were scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated the site, and police were treating the incident as an act of domestic terrorism. Oak Creek police handed the investigation over to the FBI. They were also investigating possible ties to white supremacist groups and other racial motivations. The FBI said there was no reason to think anyone else was involved in the attack, and they were not aware of any past threat made against the temple. US Attorney General Eric Holder described the incident as "an act of terrorism, an act of hatred, a hate crime."


The six victims killed included one woman: Paramjit Kaur, 41; and five men: Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, the founder of the temple; Prakash Singh, 39, an assistant priest; Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; and Suveg Singh, 84. All of the male victims wore turbans as part of their Sikh faith. Four of the victims were Indian nationals, while the rest were Americans.

The injured included a responding officer, Lt. Brian Murphy, who was shot fifteen times at close range, including once in the neck. He was discharged from the hospital on August 22, 2012. Sikhs for Justice, a New York-based group, pledged a $10,000 award to Murphy. Two Sikh residents of Yuba City, California donated another $100,000 to officer Murphy for his heroic act and bravery.


Wade Michael Page (November 11, 1971 – August 5, 2012) was an American white supremacist then living in Cudahy, Wisconsin. Page was born and grew up in Colorado. He served in the U.S. Army from April 1992 through October 1998, before being forced out by a general discharge. In the Army, Page had learned to repair the Hawk missile system, before becoming a psychological operations specialist. He was demoted and received a general discharge for "patterns of misconduct," including being drunk while on duty and going absent without leave.

After his discharge, Page returned to Colorado, living in the Denver suburb of Littleton from 2000 through 2007. Page worked as a truck driver from 2006 to 2010, but was fired after receiving a citation for impaired driving due to drinking.

Page had ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, and was reportedly a member of the Hammerskins. He entered the white power music scene in 2000, becoming involved in several neo-Nazi bands. He founded the band End Apathy in 2005 and played in the band Definite Hate, both considered racist white-power bands by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Page's former step-mother apologized to the Sikh victims and said she had not been in touch with her stepson for the past twelve years, after divorcing his father. A former friend described him as a "loner" and said he had talked about an "impending racial holy war." According to his neighbors, Page lived alone, rarely left his apartment, and avoided eye contact with them.

Page legally purchased the handgun used in the shooting on July 28, 2012 at a gun shop in West Allis, Wisconsin. Page passed the background checks required, and paid cash for the gun, along with three 19-round magazines. The owner of the gun shop said that Page's appearance and demeanor in the shop "raised no eyebrows whatsoever."

Following the shooting, photographs of Page appeared in media reports showing him with a range of tattoos on his arms and upper body, which were said to show his links to white supremacist organizations.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards declined to speculate on the motive behind the attack, saying "I don't know why, and I don't know that we'll ever know, because when he died, that died with him what his motive was or what he was thinking.


President Barack Obama offered his condolences, calling the Sikh community "a part of our broader American family," and ordered flags at federal buildings flown at half-staff until August 10 to honor the victims. Obama called for "soul searching" on how to reduce violence. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and other officials also issued statements of sympathy for the victims of the shooting and their families.

Nancy Powell, the United States Ambassador to India, attended prayers for the victims at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, said that the attack being at a Sikh temple added to the pain, and stated that India stood in support of all peace-loving Americans who condemned the shooting. Following the incident, there were vigils as well as some protests against the United States by Sikhs in India.

On August 9, Indian members of parliament in New Delhi joined ranks in parliament to offer condolences to families of the victims. Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, the highest-ranking priest within the Sikh faith, called the shooting a “security lapse” by the U.S. government, and recommended that Sikhs in the United States adopt all possible security measures at their temples. Oak Creek Sikh residents said the incident had shocked their community.

Many Sikh Americans did not approve of the protests in India against the United States, and strongly condemned the actions, such as flag-burnings, taken by the protesters. U.S.-based Sikh community groups pledged assistance to the victims and their families, and urged Sikh Americans to organize interfaith vigils. They also organized to send an emergency response team to Wisconsin.

Many Americans held candlelight vigils in support of the Sikh community, and dignitaries such as Governor Walker attended. Congressman Paul Ryan introduced a bill in Congress condemning the tragedy which stated the House "condemns the senseless attack." On September 19, 2012, a Congressional hearing addressed hate crimes in response to the tragedy, before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights convened by Senator Dick Durbin.


Sikh temple shooting: Gun shop owner says Wade Page seemed normal

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Kim Murphy - Los Angeles Times

August 8, 2012

OAK CREEK, Wis. -- Wade Michael Page, the man investigators say killed six people and critically wounded three others at a Sikh temple Sunday before dying in a shootout with police, did not appear dangerous when he bought a handgun at a shop last month, the shop owner says.

Kevin Nugent, owner of the Shooters Shop, about eight miles southwest of Milwaukee in West Allis, Wis., told The Times that Page came looking for a handgun on July 28

“He asked about a 9 millimeter,” Nugent said Tuesday.

Nugent said Page did not look strange and appeared calm.

“He didn’t have a shaved head or 9/11 tattoo. He didn’t talk stupid or act stupid,” Nugent said. “He raised no eyebrows whatsoever.”

Nugent, who runs one of the few gun shops in the area that boasts a large selection, said he reserves the right not to sell to customers who appear irate or under the influence. Page was neither, he said.

“We’re very strict,” he added.

Nugent ran a background check that day, and Page was cleared for purchase.

“All the proper channels for authorization were followed,” he said. “Nothing we could do would have stopped this.”

Page paid $650 cash for a Springfield Armory XDM  with three 19-round ammunition magazines, which Nugent called “a nice duty weapon.” Page picked up the gun at the shop two days later, took it down to the shop’s basement range for some target practice, and left soon after without incident, Nugent said. He said Page did not buy any other firearms or ammunition at the store.

Nugent said he has since been interviewed by officials from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He shared with them shop surveillance video that shows Page buying the gun.

“I watched the video of the guy — he was very normal,” Nugent said.

Late Tuesday, ATF Special Agent Thomas Ahern confirmed that Wade’s weapon had been purchased at Nugent’s shop.

Ahern also told The Times that local investigators had asked the ATF to trace a second gun. It turned out to belong to Wade’s ex-girlfriend, Misty Cook. She was arrested late Tuesday on suspicion  of being a felon in possession of a gun. 

According to court records, Brenda Misty Cook was convicted in 2005 of fleeing a traffic officer in Milwaukee County. She was sentenced to 18 months’ probation and served 97 days in jail.

Cook shared Wade’s fascination with the white power movement, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors extremist groups. The ADL had information on Page and Cook going back several years, and ADL researchers said Page appeared to have moved to Wisconsin to be with her.

In an e-mail to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cook said she could not comment and asked for privacy. Here's her full statement:

"In light of this senseless tragedy, I must respectfully decline any requests for comments. If I could say something to ease the pain of the victims and their families I would gladly do so. Unfortunately words do not begin to heal the pain they are going through. I ask that you please respect my privacy in dealing with this issue as it is a great struggle for me."


Wade Michael Page and the rise of violent far-right extremism

The man who opened fire in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin was not just a crazed loner, but a vocal neo-Nazi – in fact, his white supremacist ideology reflected a growing form of extremism that expresses its strength through violence rather than at the ballot box

By Matthew Goodwin -

August 8, 2012

On Saturday 28 July 2012, Wade Michael Page walked into the Shooters Shop in Wisconsin to buy a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, and ammunition. Eight days later, the 40-year-old military veteran arrived at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek and began shooting at members of the congregation who had gathered to prepare a meal. During the shooting, six members of the Sikh community, one police officer and the attacker were killed. 

Within hours of the shootings, the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) revealed that Page was a known white supremacist. He had links to networks including the Hammerskin Nation and was involved in an underground music scene often referred to as "white power music" or "hate rock". Influenced strongly by earlier bands in England such as Skrewdriver, white power music is seen by those who study extremism as one of the most important recruitment tools for the modern far right. Page's involvement appears to have been deep: in an interview with online music magazine in 2005, he claimed to have sold all of his possessions so that he could travel around the country attending white power festivals such as Hammerfest. The next year he formed a band called End Apathy recruiting bandmates from the other groups such as Definite Hate and 13 Knots. Asked in 2005 to elaborate on the meaning of the band's lyrics, Page replied: "The topics 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."

Page's body also contained references to white supremacism. A tattoo of the number "14" was a direct reference to the so-called "14 words" that occupy a central role in neo-Nazi vocabulary: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." This passage, a reference to a section of Mein Kampf, was popularised by David Lane, a member of white supremacist terror group The Order. Another tattoo of the Odin or Celtic cross represents one of the most popular symbols among neo-Nazis, seen as the international symbol for "white pride". Those who had been close to Page confirmed his ideological affinity to the extreme right. Reflecting a wider belief within the movement, an old army friend of Page claimed that as far back as the 90s he had talked about "racial holy war", and would rant "about mostly any non-white person". 

As with the aftermath of the attacks by Anders Breivik in Norway, it was not long until sympathisers surfaced online. "Take your dead and go back to India and dump their ashes in the Ganges, Sikhs," wrote one neo-Nazi. Others praised their "brother": "All I feel is loss and sympathy for a brother that was overwhelmed by pain and frustration. I could [sic] care less though for those injured and wounded other than Wade." Another warned of future attacks: "There are thousands of other angry White men like Page, the vast majority of them unknown ... When will they, like Page, reach their breaking point...?"

The threat of violence from disgruntled rightwing extremists is not lost on the security services, or analysts. In 2009, Daryl Johnson, an analyst at the Department for Homeland Security, authored a report that explicitly warned of the growing threat of far-right violence. Pointing to the economic downturn, the election of Barack Obama and evidence that some military veterans were struggling to re-integrate into civilian life, the report was one of the first to flag the growing importance of the extreme right – a movement that was routinely overlooked after 9/11. Few, however, took the warning seriously. Rather, Republicans and rightwing commentators openly criticised the report. Some saw it as an attempt to discredit the insurgent and right-wing Tea Party movement while many viewed it as an unfair attack on military veterans. Others said it focused unnecessarily on domestic rather than foreign manifestations of terrorism.

But Johnson (who was later shunted into a different department) was not wrong. Following Wisconsin, some analysts reminded commentators that the far right is responsible for as many – if not more – attacks on US soil than religious-based extremists, and now poses the most significant domestic security threat. Indeed, prior to 9/11 the most damaging act of terrorism within the US was the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma by militia sympathiser Timothy McVeigh, which resulted in 168 deaths and more than 800 injuries. Between 1990 and 2010 the far right committed 145 ideologically motivated homicide incidents in the US. Of these incidents, excluding the bombing in Oklahoma City, far-right extremists killed 180 people.

The data suggests that American far right groups have grown "explosively", which is attributed to a potent combination of public anxieties over the financial crisis, the growth of conspiracy theories, the exploitation of fears over non-white immigration and the prospect of Obama securing a second term in office.

According to the SPLC, in 2011 the number of "hate groups" active in the US reached 1,018, 69% more than in 2000. The most striking growth has been within the "patriot" scene, which contains anti-government groups that cling to conspiracy theories and view the government as enemy number one. There were fewer than 150 of these (mostly inactive) groups in 2000. By 2011, there were almost 1,300. In fact, since 2009 this particular variant of the far right has grown at a rate of 755%.

While it is difficult to compare across borders, similar warnings have been voiced in Europe. Last year, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany noted that while the number of people in far-right political parties had contracted to 22,000, the number of those involved in more combative and confrontational forms of far-right politics was on the rise: the number of rightwing extremists with a propensity to violence had increased to 9,800; the number of followers of more violence-prone neo-Nazi groups had risen to 6,000; and the number of street-based demonstrations had reached an all-time high.

Though less affected than other countries, from 2001 onward, authorities in the UK have similarly voiced concern over a rapidly evolving far-right scene. In recent years, at least 17 individuals who committed or planned acts of violence or terrorism, and who were linked to the far right, have been imprisoned. In 2009, the discovery of a network of rightwing extremists in England with access to an arsenal of weapons prompted London Metropolitan police to warn that far-right militants might attempt a "spectacular" attack. In the same year the English Defence League (EDL) was born, introducing a new form of far-right politics that is less interested than its predecessors in elections, and more focused on rallying support through street-based confrontation and networks that transcend national borders.

Though often dismissed as alarmist, these warnings were partly validated in July 2011, when Breivik launched his politically motivated attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya. Shortly afterward, authorities in Germany discovered that a violent neo-Nazi cell – the National Socialist Underground (NSU) – had been responsible for at least a dozen murders. Then, in Florence, an activist connected to the far-right group Casa Pound shot dead two immigrant street traders in an unprovoked attack. While it might be tempting to treat the attack in Wisconsin in isolation, it is actually the latest in a series of acts of violence from individuals linked to far-right groups.

The perpetrators of these attacks are often dismissed as crazed and psychologically flawed loners. Perhaps this is because we have grown used to the security threat from religious extremists and tend to view their far-right counterparts as a loony fringe, rather than rational agents who are using violence to achieve certain goals. What Breivik in Norway, Gianluca Casseri in Florence, the "London nailbomber" David Copeland and Michael Page all share in common is that they arrived at violence following a longer involvement with far-right extremism. For more recent examples – such as Breivik – their attacks followed an almost total immersion in online "virtual communities". These perform a crucial role in cultivating a set of narratives that are often later used to justify violence. These include emphasis on the perceived threat of racial or cultural extinction, belief in an impending and apocalyptic conflict (a "race war" or "clash of civilisations"), belief that urgent, radical action is required and that followers have a moral obligation. In short, only by engaging in violence can they defend the wider group from various threats in society.

This preference for violence or terrorism reflects a viewpoint within the far right that has long prioritised "direct action" over a ballot-box strategy. For much of the past two decades in Europe, the strength of the far right has been measured through its number of votes at elections. But it is important to note that – for some within this scene – strength is measured as the ability and willingness to engage in violent action against "enemies" that are seen to threaten the racial purity and survival of the native group. These enemies can beimmigrants, minority groups, future leaders of mainstream parties or the state.

Identifying and tracking the Breiviks and Pages of this world will always be extremely difficult. But the reality is that – at least for the past 10 years – western democracies and their security agencies have focused almost exclusively on only one form of violent extremism. The far right may still pose less of a threat than al-Qaida-inspired groups, say, but our ignorance of this form of extremism is striking.

Wisconsin teaches us that the challenge that now presents itself is to understand what "pushes and pulls" citizens to commit violence in the name of rightwing extremism, and to develop an effective response. To do this, we must first start taking violence from the far right more seriously.


Wisconsin Killer Fed and Was Fueled by Hate-Driven Music

By Erica Goode and Serge F. Kovaleski - The New York Times

August 6, 2012

His music, Wade M. Page once said, was about “how the value of human life has been degraded by tyranny."

But on Sunday, Mr. Page, an Army veteran and a rock singer whose bands specialized in the lyrics of hate, coldly took the lives of six people and wounded three others when he opened fire with a 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., the police said. Officers then shot him to death.

To some who track the movements of white supremacist groups, the violence was not a total surprise. Mr. Page, 40, had long been among the hundreds of names on the radar of organizations monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of his ties to the white supremacist movement and his role as the leader of a white-power band called End Apathy. The authorities have said they are treating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

In Oak Creek and in nearby Cudahy, Wis., south of Milwaukee, where Mr. Page lived in the days before the attack, the magnitude and the nature of what had happened were only beginning to sink in, grief competing with outrage. A company flew its flag at half-staff. A Christian minister offered his parishioners’ help to a Sikh gathering at the Salvation Army.

At a news conference on Monday, Teresa Carlson, a special agent for the F.B.I., which is leading the investigation, said, “We don’t have any reason to believe that there was anyone else” involved in the crime. Law enforcement officials said earlier on Monday they wanted to speak with a “person of interest” who was at the temple on Sunday, but by late afternoon they had ruled out any connection between him and the shooting.

Oak Creek’s police chief, John Edwards, speaking at the news conference, identified the five men and one woman who died at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin: Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Prakash Singh, 39; Paramjit Kaur, 41; Suveg Singh, 84; and Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, who was the center’s president.

Peter Hoyt, 53, a neighbor of Mr. Page’s in Cudahy who often stopped to chat with him during morning walks, said he was “stunned” that the man he had known could have done something so violent. Mr. Page, he said, told him that he had broken up with a girlfriend in early June.

“He didn’t seem like he was visibly upset,” Mr. Hoyt said about the breakup. “He didn’t seem angry. He seemed more emotionally upset. He wasn’t mad. He was hurt.”

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said Mr. Page had come to the center’s attention a decade ago because of his affiliation with rock bands known for lyrics that push far past the boundaries of tolerance.

“The music that comes from these bands is incredibly violent, and it talks about murdering Jews, black people, gay people and a whole host of other enemies,” Mr. Potok said. He added that in 2000, Mr. Page tried to buy unspecified goods from the National Alliance, which Mr. Potok described as a neo-Nazi organization that at the time was one of the country’s best organized and best financed hate groups.

But Mr. Potok said the center had not passed any information about Mr. Page to law enforcement.

“We were not looking at this guy as anything special until today,” he said. “He was one of thousands. We were just keeping an eye on him.”

Although little known among music fans, a steady subculture of racist and anti-Semitic rock bands has existed on the margins of punk and heavy metal in Europe and the United States since at least the 1970s. Hate groups sometimes use some of the bands and their record labels for fund-raising and recruiting, according to the law center and the Anti-Defamation League.

In an interview posted on the Web site of the record company Label56, Mr. Page mentioned going to Hammerfest, an annual white-supremacist festival well known to civil rights advocates. He also said he played in various neo-Nazi bands, including Blue Eyed Devils, whose song “White Victory” includes the lines: “Now I’ll fight for my race and nation/Sieg Heil!” The company removed the interview from its site on Monday.

Analysts for the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security routinely monitor violent extremist Web sites of all kinds, including those attracting white supremacists, according to former officials of both agencies. But the department’s work on the topic has been criticized. In 2009, conservatives in Congress strongly objected to a department report titled “Rightwing Extremism,” which speculated that the recession and the election of a black president could increase the threat from white supremacists.

Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, withdrew the report and apologized for what she called its flaws. Daryl Johnson, the homeland security analyst who was the primary author of the report, said last year that after the flap, the number of analysts assigned to track non-Islamic militancy had been reduced sharply. Homeland Security Department officials denied his assertion and said the department monitored violent extremism of every kind, without regard to its religious or political bent.

J. M. Berger, an author and analyst on counterterrorism who runs the Intelwire Web site, said Mr. Page “clearly had a history with the white supremacist movement.” A song called “Welcome to the South” by Definite Hate, another band that Mr. Page played in and that Mr. Berger found online, refers to “our race war” and asks, “What has happened to America/That was once so white and free?” Mr. Berger said the lyrics and album art of Definite Hate echo the views and vocabulary of the Hammerskins, or Hammerskin Nation, a white supremacist group founded in Dallas in 1988.

According to the SITE Monitoring Service, which follows white supremacist trends, Mr. Page had an extensive presence on Hammerskin and other white nationalist Web sites, including Stormfront, where he favored the names of his bands as user names and “frequently included white supremacist symbolism” in his postings. He concluded one posting with “88,” a number frequently used by neo-Nazis and skinheads to mean “Heil, Hitler,” according to SITE. (H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.) He also used “14,” the number of words in the rallying slogan of the white supremacist movement.

Although Mr. Hoyt, his neighbor, said Mr. Page had claimed that he enlisted in the Army after Sept. 11, Army records show that he separated from the military in 1998, completing his basic training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and serving at Fort Bliss in El Paso and Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Listed as a psychological operations specialist, he was never deployed overseas, according to the records, although Mr. Hoyt said he had talked about combat.

“He said, ‘You go there, and one minute you’re with your buddies and the next minute you’re dead,’ ” Mr. Hoyt recalled.

A source familiar with Mr. Page’s military history, who had not been authorized to speak about the case, said Mr. Page had received an “other than honorable” discharge from the Army. Pentagon officials said Mr. Page had also been demoted, from sergeant to specialist, before leaving the service.

In June 1994, while he was at Fort Bliss, the El Paso police arrested Mr. Page and charged him with criminal mischief. He was intoxicated and playing pool at a bar called the Attic when he “began kicking large holes in the Sheetrock wall with his boots,” said Renee Railey, a spokeswoman for the El Paso County district attorney.

Mr. Page pleaded guilty to the charge, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, though he was allowed to fulfill the sentence through 180 days of probation. He paid $645 in fines and court costs, and was ordered to complete 24 hours of community service.

After leaving the Army, Mr. Page, a native of Colorado, lived for several years in North Carolina, where he owned a property that Wells Fargo foreclosed on in January. In a statement, the bank said that it had no dealings with Mr. Page other than routine notifications, and that the property was vacant when the foreclosure process began last August.

Mr. Page’s former stepmother, Laura Page, 67, who divorced his father more than a decade ago, said that growing up, he was “a precious little boy, a very mellow and soft-spoken person.”

In an interview in Denver, where she lives, Ms. Page said she had known her stepson since he was 10. As a child, she said, he worshiped the guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. His aspirations and dreams centered on music.

“Wade, his father and me would go camping and fishing in Colorado and have just a wonderful time, and we would play games at home, like cards and Monopoly,” Ms. Page said. “We just did the normal things that a family does.”

For most of his childhood, Ms. Page said, Mr. Page lived in the Denver area with his mother, a dog groomer, but she died when he was 13 or 14, and “he took it very hard.” He was not close to his father, she said, and moved in with a grandmother and an aunt who were also in Colorado. He enlisted in the military after graduating from high school.

“I can’t imagine, I can’t imagine what made him do this,” Ms. Page said.

While residents in Oak Creek struggled to understand, the three wounded victims were struggling to survive. Among them was Lt. Brian Murphy, the first officer to arrive at the temple after 911 calls began flooding the Oak Creek Police Department at 10:25 on Sunday morning.

Lieutenant Murphy, 51, took in the scene and then stopped to tend to a wounded victim in the parking lot. When he looked up, an armed man was standing over him. The gunman fired eight or nine shots at close range, striking Lieutenant Murphy in the neck, Chief Edwards said. But when other officers rushed to help him, he waved them on — the victims in the temple came first.


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