“I’m freaked out about the incident itself,” Joseph Rackley said. “It is just senseless and any other word you’d like to use to describe it. I hate it for the survivors of those who lost someone. I have nothing but sympathy for them.”
Page worked as a solo truck driver from 2006 to 2010 for Barr-Nunn Transportation, a trucking company based in Iowa. But he was fired in August 2010 after being cited in North Carolina for driving while impaired by alcohol or some other chemical substance.
The company said in a statement that he was driving his own vehicle in North Carolina at the time of the citation, and that he refused to submit to a blood alcohol test when pulled over.
After losing his job, Page apparently ran into financial trouble. Public records show that his home, in a rural part of Fayetteville, was foreclosed on in January. Page had bought the house for $165,000 in 2007, refinanced his mortgage two years later and fallen far behind in payments.
Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department in Fayetteville, confirmed that the department had a few interactions with Page while he lived there. He was issued five gun permits on May 5, 2008, although it is not known whether he bought weapons.
Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest in October 1997 after he wrote a bad check.
It’s unclear why Page moved to Wisconsin. For about the first half of this year, he lived in a two-story apartment in South Milwaukee with his girlfriend and her son, said David Brown, who lived a floor below them. Page was not a warm neighbor, he said.
“He wasn’t friendly. He wasn’t outgoing at all,” Brown said, adding that when he would greet Page, “he’d just shrug and walk off.” Sometimes Brown would see him in the basement lifting weights. “Just him and weights and a lot of moaning.”
Sometimes Brown would see Page carrying an instrument, perhaps a guitar or a keyboard.
“The only time he had a little bounce in his step was when he had a music thing and was heading out. I understand that. Shooting people, I don’t understand,” Brown said.
A woman who answered the phone at a number listed to Page’s grandparents in Littleton, Colo., identified herself as Page’s grandmother. At times breaking into tears, she described how impossible the shootings were to believe.
“He was just a nice person,” she said, then gasped, adding: “I can’t understand him taking six other people’s lives.”
Two weeks ago, she said, her grandson inexplicably sent a bouquet of red roses to her home.
Police on Monday identified Paramjit Kaur, a 41-year-old woman, as one of those killed. The other victims, all men, were identified as Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Satwant Singh Kaleka, 62; Prakash Singh, 39; and Suveg Singh Khattra, 84. Singh is a common surname for men in the Sikh religion. The wounded officer was identified as Lt. Brian Murphy, 51, a 21-year veteran of the department. He is in critical condition, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said.
On Monday, members of the Sikh community here in Oak Creek wept after the victims’ names were read during a news conference. One man wiped the tears from the face of another who had sunk to the floor during the event at the police station.
Another asked FBI Special Agent Teresa Carlson how many people like Page are scattered across the country. “That is the problem,” she replied. “Nobody knows.”
The attack jolted Internet message boards trafficked by white supremacists, some of whom urged more, similar actions. SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors radical groups on the Web, reported Monday a flurry of activity on racist message boards, including one thread exhorting the community to “stop talking and start doing.”
The record label that released Page’s music and published the interview called the attack a “tragedy,” saying in a statement that it had worked hard to be “positive.”
“Label 56 is very sorry to hear about the tragedy in Wisconsin and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who are affected,” it said. “Please do not take what Wade did as honorable or respectable and please do not think we are all like that.”
Leonnig and Somashekhar reported from Washington. Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report.