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Wade Michael Page, a reported skinhead, is being blamed for the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., that left seven people dead Sunday, including Page, authorities said Monday.
Page allegedly started shooting in the temple parking lot before walking into the temple in the midst of services and opening fire, CNN reports. Page allegedly killed six worshippers and seriously wounded a police officer before a second officer shot and killed him.
Page was 40 years old and was a former member of the U.S. Army who was discharged for patterns of misconduct in 1998. He is described as a white supremacist and skinhead, a Yahoo! News blog reports.
Wade Michael Page's motives for the Sikh temple shooting are unclear, but the FBI is investigating the case as one of domestic terrorism. Along with Page's alleged identification as a skinhead, he also reportedly had a 9/11 tattoo and may have had issues with those he felt were responsible for the attack.
If that was the case, Page targeted the wrong group. While Sikhs commonly keep long beards and wear turbans, they are not Muslims and are a distinct and separate religion. Unfortunately, since 9/11, there have been more 700 reports of hate-related incidents against Sikhs in the United States, according to Yahoo! News.
There is a long history of hate crimes in this country. As a result, most states have laws that provide enhanced penalties to crimes motivated by discrimination and hate. For example, Wisconsin's law would turn a crime that is ordinarily a misdemeanor into a felony if the crime was motivated by hate.
Whatever his motive, Wade Michael Page paid the ultimate price for the Sikh temple shooting. Three shooting victims, including the wounded police officer, remain in critical condition.