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

30 Replies to “Wisconsin Sikh Temple Shooting Being Investigated as Domestic Terrorism”

  1. NRA apologists countdown.

    Before they get here GUNS KILL PEOPLE next Religion kills

    Same two groups always try to excuse their actions

  2. Ps typical that they don’t know the difference in religions. No need to get the facts straight.

    Who targets Muslims? Republicans. This is on Michelle Bachman.

  3. In this country there are 88.8 guns per 100 people. Last week 70 people were shot while watching the new Batman Movie. 12 died including a 6 year old girl. I have a 5 year old granddaughter. Now we have gunmen in a Sikh Temple killing maybe dozens of people? Every year 30,000 people are killed by gunshots (wikianswers) Are we ever going to get tired of this and stop the NRA whose only desire is to make as much money as possible arming people? God help us. No one else can.

  4. a guess, but it wouldnt surprise me if it wasnt a tbagging teahadist. after to the rightwing, a sikh is the same as a muslim…. foxnews and the rightwing liars tell them so………

  5. Guns do not kill people,most Americans who have common sense are aware of this. But we have a few who thinks all guns should be out law. These are the ones that scare me,they do not have a clue. The whats ifs out way the protecting of ones family. If you do not believe in guns in your home that’s your right,but do not think for one moment you have the right to say to all Americans you do not deserve to protect yourself,by having guns in your home for protection. This is still a free society for the moment.

  6. Spare me the “Guns don’t kill people” bs. The only reason to own a gun is to Kill something…PERIOD!
    We need to clamp down on guns and disband the NRA!

  7. Go tell the victims how free they are. You can’t because they’re dead. Their right to life doesn’t matter to you at all.

  8. I’m over-whelmed with grief over this atrocity.

    When Sikhs dies, they say the word “Akal”; it means “undying truth” or true, great undying (Sat Siri Akal). It is said to help the soul pass into the “truth”. To hear Akal chanted is a sad, mournful sound of one long note…it is said 8-9 times (why X times, I don’t know, so don’t ask). Then the traditional prayers are said, which are a recitation of all past ancestors and the hardships they suffered and atrocities of massacre from 100 years of Jihadist to the British, lining them up and using them as cannon fodder for “civil disobedience”. Life is a daily “battle” to the Sikh in which balance lies between being a solider or a saint, what or which ever is required of them at that moment.

    What these fools who think they are “terrorist” don’t know is that a Sikh is bound to defend any and all religious people from any form of oppression when called upon to help…what a sick, sick waste of human life.

  9. All the gun ban talk is a waste of time… First, you will never take the guns away from the people (at least not in this lifetime)… Secondly, you can’t penaize everyone for someone elses actions… Third, if we would do away with all the long drawn out trials and appeals processes and put to death ALL the people that kill someone when commiting a crime, things would probably be different…

    Look at Colorado… It is a proven fact he is guilty… He has his apartment booby trapped to blow up the majority of the building and kill even more people… Yet now he is a mental case (DUH, ya think) and it will be a long drawn out process to decide where to commit him when the reality of it is, he is guilty as sin and should be put to death…

    I live in Florida… They have what is called 10/20/Life… Commit a crive with a gun and automatic 10 years… Fire the gun and automatic 20 years… Shoot someone (dead or not) and you get life… It hasn’t slowed down anything in the way of crime that I can see so we need to get tougher and do away with all the BS in the courtroom and appeals and then we need to get rid of these people… But, instead, we have a long drawn out court case… Then we have multiple appeals and all the while the criminal is being took care of via the taxpayers… Three squares a day, better health care than the average person to boot and no worries about bills…

    We need to stop being so soft on these crimes and the people commiting them and maybe if the conseuesces were worse we would have less of these kind of things…

    You may think I am crass and heartless, and that is alright… Evertone has their own opinion and we can spend days, weeks months and years debating it, and while we debate,the criminals can keep on doing what they are doing…

  10. Oh lord who gives us the right to kill through our constitution and tells us that guns are our most important right, send down more guns so we may smite and smote anyone not like us in our purity.

    More guns lord.

  11. I dont think anyone thinks we are going to take everyones guns away.

    But its time to determine what people should have and what they should not have. And time to determine who should have them. And to tie up the loose ends on the mexican border. No more selling unlimited guns and sending them across the border

  12. This is beyond awful and close to home. My parents, three sisters, a brother, three nephews, a niece and their spouses all live within a five mile radius of this attack. For almost twenty years I lived in the same area prior to relocating for work five years ago. What a senseless act…

  13. Or as the Marx Brothers sang in “Duck Soup”,

    “They got guns! We got guns! All God’s children got guns…”

  14. Being investigated as domestic terrorism

    …UNTIL they find out the guy is a christian. Then, they’ll change it to just the actions of a crazy guy; because we all know only non-christians/non-whites are terrorists.

  15. Words of blame are useless at such times.
    Steels my resolve to be the change I want to see in our shared world. Working daily to leave better than I found it for all of our children.

  16. I understand and agree to a certain extent… The only problem is there is not really any way to change much to fix it…

    Look at a drivers license, you have to actually take a written test, and then drive with the examiner… So when you get your license you have demonstrated you know the laws and you know the proper way to handle an automobile…

    Go take a drive, look at how many people drive like lunatics out there… Road Rage anyone… There is a lot more involved in getting an actual drivers license than getting a firearm when it comes to actually being qualified… All you have to do for a firearm is pass a background check…

    No different than getting pulled over and having the officer run your license, if you haven’t “been caught” doing anything you have a clean license, doesn’t mean you are a safe driver…

    Same with firearm. You tortured and killed animals with rocks and sticks and clubs when you were younger but never got caught, so your background check shows clean… Now you have a gun unstead of rocks and sticks and clubs… Who/what are you gonna torture/kill now…

    That is the problem, there is no real way to truly know if someone is competen or not unless they have actually been caught doing something bad and there is a record of it that is available to all…

    So, while I agree there is no real reason for a civilian to need an assault type of weapon (unless and until they change that part) the rest are still readily available to any and all who can pass the check…

    So, they either need to do a different type of check, and/or have people go through some type of training class (which may/may not make any difference either), or maybe give them a competence test of some kind… But that will never happen either…

    So the only other option is make the laws stiffer and the penalty for committing murder automatic death… It won’t stop them all, but it may deter some… Who knows, crazy people are gonna do crazy things regardless of the consequesces…

    So, go take a drive and think about it…

  17. I love it when someone who clearly couldn’t pass a 5th grade writing or spelling test tries to school the rest of us on common sense and legal rights.

  18. Not sure if the stiffer penalty will work as you say given that most gun murders are committed by the regular joe down the street and / or people related to / friends of the deceased. No penalty will stop crimes of passion or dedicated criminals as well. But I think they should be enacted anyways. Sooner or later examples of the penalty’s set out for all to see will have some effect.

    I once worked with a guy that killed another guy and spent 5 years in prison. Hello?

  19. (SIGH) Shiva, they may not think they will take guns away, but look at the rhetoric on this site. Many of the people WANT to take guns away (and if you get enough people wanting something, it may just happen).

    Things like this tragedy scare me, not just because of the incident (which makes me wonder how much the dominionists are involved), but also because of the repercussions. It could leave my wife and I defenseless to the monsters in this area (and I think enough has been said to show how bad this area is). In trying to guarantee safety to everyone, they will destroy safety for people whose only wish is to be left alone (if not making friends).

    Those who would disarm the American public need to talk with the Sikhs. I admit I don’t know much about their belief system, but from what I HAVE heard, I think they would be appalled to be used in such a fashion.

    Now, I ask the same questions as I asked after the Colorado tragedy. What is being done to help the victims? Where is the concern for them? Where is the anger at the rhetoric that I expect is behind this horror? What can be done to provide help and support to those who have suffered losses because of this? How can WE help?

    I will also say that I expect a lot more horrible acts like this. Not because of gun ownership (the lazy thinker’s target for blame), but because I know intimately what we face, and how it’s getting stronger and more violent. Until (1) the government faces the fact that a significant portion of the American population follows a religious ideology that calls for the overthrow of the constitution and subjugation of any not like them, (2) the right wing hate rhetoric is dealt with – I’d advise a “Truth in Reporting” law like Canada, with teeth, (3) more work on exposing people to different ways of thinking and different ways of living (like knowledge about the Sikhs and their culture), and (4) an effort to overcome the root cause of much of the violence in this country, which is the greed of the rich and the way they’ve been exploiting and harming others (causing despair because in most cases, the poor don’t see any way out or any hope). These things will curb the violence, although they’re not quick fixes. There are also ways to prevent bullying which leads to the isolation and development of violent tendencies. Finally, finding some way to identify sociopaths and keeping them from harming others could go far to prevent things like Colorado.

    In the meantime, we need to help those who have suffered. I know that once it’s no longer headline news, the support and help will vanish. People in this country seem to have a knack for forgetting that their neighbors were severely harmed and need compassion and aid. It happened after Katrina. It happened after Haiti (earthquake). It may be happening now – after Colorado. The thing is, the sorts of things that we’ve been advocating on this blog would go far for helping to reduce the heat… with one exception.

    Before I get attacked again because I’m opposed to gun control (beyond the reasonable laws in place at this moment), I ask that people think about what I’m saying. I don’t want to be thrown off this blog because I don’t go along with something that puts our very lives in danger.

  20. My heart and love goes out to you and to all who seek to bring peace to this country. Somehow we have to find comfort in each other as we continue to stand up to the hate and evil that threatens to engulf us. I appreciate your speaking to your pain. You say it so much better than I. Peace, my friend.

  21. I have no problem with those who would get rid of guns. We both know it wont happen but they are just as entitled to their opinion as anyone. We will remain a nation who thinks guns take precedence over the 10 commandments for at least another 40 years

  22. It nearly happened to us… to my tribe, back in the 90s. Thank God the bill failed (as I remember it was a rather close vote). Since it came even remotely close during that decade, I don’t discount it today. (Better safe than sorry.)

    All in the name of fighting “terrorism”, I might add. Never mind that we are and were peaceful and friendly (as long as people didn’t try to kill us).

    They’re entitled to their opinion… I agree. When people try to make their opinion law… that’s what I fear (same as I fear the dominionists).

    I’m also concerned that the discussion of gun control will distract from more important issues.

  23. I think the gun apologists tend to get their noses out of joint when anyone mentions gun control. If they would listen, they would understand that the purpose of gun control is not to take guns away from responsible gun owners but to close some of the loopholes that allow convicted felons and the mentally ill to purchase guns. I don’t see this as being unreasonable. I’m a gun owner, and I support gun control. Unless a person is a convicted felon or a mentally ill individual, he/she would have no reason to fear having his/her guns taken away, even if there were gun control laws. Mayor Bloomberg and other mayors have been talking about this for years, and every time he mentions it, the gun apologists pretend that certain people owning guns in this society is not a problem when it clearly is. Something needs to be done because none of us know when we, or one of our family members, may end up in the gun sights of a mentally ill individual or a convicted felon.

  24. I hesitate to bring forth this “information” but Sikhs are very proficient at weaponry of all kinds–always have been since their humble beginnings. They are in “awe” of the power weaponry can have over life and death and, have made conscious effort to have more respect for it than most humans. Many would “cringe” or find excuse to enter their temples under false pretense if they knew that swords, kirpan (small knife worn by all Sikhs) are prevalent, displayed and even laid-out at certain ceremonies. It is a symbol that life is a double-edge sword, “kanga”; it is the “steel” that molds their soul. It is part of their history and they don’t hide it or sneak around it pretending otherwise…There is only one “sin” in Sikhism; never harm another being, physically, emotionally or spiritually.

    Today traumatized Sikhs all around the world, yet, they will call for peace and understanding with 72 hours of non-stop reading of their holy books, hour by hour, one at a time, each taking their turn. I don’t know of any other religion who gathers their community to read their holy book cover to cover non-stop…and, has done so for centuries.

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