Bernard Zapor, special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the weapon used in the shooting was a 9mm handgun that was purchased legally.
Federal and state agents are examining Page’s background, including whether he had posted anything on the Internet, law enforcement officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is unfolding. A semiautomatic pistol was recovered at the scene, officials said. Federal officials searched a home in nearby Cudahy, Wis. where the shooter may have lived.
The FBI is leading the investigation, with help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and local police. Edwards said the shootings are being “treated as a domestic terrorist-type incident.” But federal law enforcement officials said it was too early to tell what happened and why.
“Right now, it’s just a mass shooting,” said a federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not an authorized spokesman. “What you have is somebody who went into a Sikh temple and opened fire. Who knows what his motivation was?’’
The shooting started about an hour before attendance at the 15-year-old temple typically reaches its peak. Survivors were ushered across the street to the Classic Lanes bowling alley for law enforcement interviews. Frightened witnesses, mourners and others were joined by scores of supporters.
“I think some people misunderstand because we keep a long beard, and keep a turban. Some people think we’re al-Qaeda,” said Prem Paul, a Sikh truck driver from South Milwaukee who comes to the temple each weekend but arrived after the shooting.
Navdeep Singh, an official with the Sikh American Legal and Education Fund in Washington, said the community was “grateful for the brave and quick action of police officers, which prevented the tragedy from being even greater.”
“We are grateful for the outpouring of support that has come to our community, and we appreciate that we are seen as part of the American fabric.”
More than 500,000 adherents of the Sikh faith live in the United States, most of them first- or second-generation immigrants from India, where Sikhism was founded several centuries ago. Sikh men tend to stand out because of their beards and colorful turbans, which are ritually wrapped around uncut hair, and leaders in the community say they are sometimes confused with Muslims and viewed with suspicion.
After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, there were scattered reports nationwide of harassment or attacks on Indian Sikhs. In a misguided act of vengeance, a Sikh gas station owner in Arizona, Balbir Singh Sodhi, was killed.