Wade Michael Page has been identified as the man who allegedly murdered six people at an Oakcreek, Wisconsin Sikh temple yesterday. Page served in the military from April 1992 until October 1998 when he was given a less-than-honorable discharge. He served at Fort Bliss, Texas in the psychological operations before being transferred to the psy-ops unit at Fort Bragg, NC.
Page was killed outside the temple during a shootout with police officers. The attack by Page left six others dead and numerous people wounded. Information has also surfaced that Page may have been a neo-Nazi and the founder of a white supremacist band.
In 2010, Page, then the leader of the band End Apathy, gave an interview to the white supremacist website Label 56. He said that when he started the band in 2005, its name reflected his wish to “figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways” and start “moving forward.” “I was willing to point out some of my faults on how I was holding myself back,” Page said. Later, he added, “The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole.” He did not discuss violence in the interview.
Page told the website that he had been a part of the white power music scene since 2000, when he left his native Colorado on a motorcycle. He attended white power concerts in Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Colorado. At various times, he said, he also played in the hate rock bands Youngland (2001-2003), Celtic Warrior, Radikahl, Max Resist, Intimidation One, Aggressive Force and Blue Eyed Devils. End Apathy, he said, included “Brent” on bass and “Ozzie” on drums; the men were former members of Definite Hate and another band, 13 Knots.
CBS has reported that Page only recently moved into his South Milwaukee apartment, and only moved to the area in December 2011. Alma Rayes, a neighbor, told CBS News that “Nobody has really seen him. We heard here and there that they’ve been doing a lot of arguing, between him and another female, but I haven’t seen him.”
The FBI is investigating if this was a hate crime and if it was an act of domestic terrorism. According to Oakcreek Police Chief John Edwards, the gunman shot and wounded a twenty-year veteran of the police force while the man was tending to a victim outside the temple. A second officer then exchanged fire with the suspect and fatally shot Page.
There has been an uptick in anti-Sikh hate crimes since 11 September 2011. Sikhs are an ethnic and religious minority whose male devotees often wear turbans and do not shave and whose female devotees often wear head coverings. The large majority of Sikhs are of Punjabi descent. A large number of people do not differentiate between Sikhism and Islam even though the religions are totally different.