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
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
Three men were transported to Froedtert Hospital, including one of the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Nugent said Page did not look strange and appeared
“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
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
"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
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
By Matthew Goodwin - Guardian.co.uk
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
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 Label56.com 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
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
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
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
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
By Erica Goode and Serge F. Kovaleski - The New
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
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
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
“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
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.