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Wisconsin Sikh Temple Shooting Being Investigated as Domestic Terrorism
A shooter or shooters opened fire at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek near Milwaukee at 10:40 AM Sunday morning during worship, killing at least four people with potentially dozens more dead or wounded. Hospitals were told to prepare for between four-twenty people. Reports say as many as 30 people may have been shot. SWAT has entered the building and escorted some people out.
Local Today’s TMJ4 reported:
Pictures from Chopper 4 showed at least four people who were reportedly killed, though Oak Creek Police did not confirm those reports.
One witness told Newsradio 620 WTMJ’s Dan O’Donnell that at least two, possible four gunmen were hiding inside the temple.
One witness described the shooter as “a white male, bald, with a heavy build. He was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, according to Oak Creek Patch. He was last seen with two handguns.”
However other accounts suggest there are multiple shooters, who may be holding children hostage.
Officers are at the scene, though it’s unknown if the gunman has been apprehended yet.
Officials have been to the temple before to discuss safety concerns due to the Sikh Indians being confused with Muslims. Sikh Indians wear turbans to cover their hair and as The Patch describes, have been the “targets of racially-motivated crimes by anti-Muslim people and groups.”
Another person on the scene told Patch that shortly before noon that there were three or four people inside the temple with guns. That person described the shooting as “a hate crime.”
Update: 2:24 PM Eastern: One suspect has been shot and one police officer has been shot. Authorities continue to say that there may be more than one suspect. Still no official victim count.
Update 2:48 PM Eastern: Police confirm 4 victims were killed inside the temple. Two more victims plus a shooter died outside of the temple. The current number of confirmed fatalities is 7.
3:54 PM Eastern: Ven Boba Ri, one of the temple’s committee members, tells the Journal-Sentinel the shooter was a white male in his 30′s and calls it a hate crime, “It’s pretty much a hate crime. It’s not an insider.”
4:41 PM Eastern: Waiting word from last briefing, but in the meantime, police did not find a second shooter in their sweeps of the Temple. They are sweeping the cars now. Spokeswoman Carolyn Bellin told CNN that at least three wounded, including a police officer, are in critical condition at Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital.
Local Milwaukee media report that the Sikhs are offering journalists free food and water as a part of their Langar Tradition. Langar is a tradition of communal contributions and combined efforts of the people, in which food is served to visitors, without distinction of their background, for free.
5:10 PM Eastern: From CNN, “State Rep. Josh Zepnick, who represents much of the Milwaukee area’s Sikh community, said he was “torn to shreds” by the attack. ‘It’s a very peace-loving community that has successfully integrated and assimilated into the metropolitan Milwaukee area.’”
5:15 PM Eastern: At the press conference, the police chief said that the FBI is treating this as a “domestic terrorist-type incident”. They believe just one shooter was involved at this point.
5:27 PM Eastern: The FBI is taking over the case.
6:07 PM eastern : @OakCreekPatch tweets, “BREAKING: Police SWAT team & AFT surrounding home in Cudahy right now. Neighbor speculates this could be home of #templeshooting gunman.”
Story will be updated as new information comes in.
Image: Today TMJ4