Sikh temple holds 1st post attack service

2012-08-12 21:35
A man wipes away tears outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. (Jeffrey Phelps, AP)

A man wipes away tears outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. (Jeffrey Phelps, AP)

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Oak Creek - More than 100 people gathered in suburban Milwaukee for the first Sunday prayer service at a Sikh temple since a white supremacist shot and killed six people there before fatally shooting himself.

Women sang hymns as a group lowered a flag pole outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. A group of about 50 men and boys unwrapped the orange cloth covering the pole, washed the pole with water and milk and then re-wrapped it with a fresh cloth. The group then planned to go inside the temple for more prayers and hymns.

Army veteran Wade Michael Page used a 9mm pistol on 5 August to kill five men, one woman and wound three other people, including a police officer, in an attack on the temple that took place shortly before a service was to begin. He took his own life after exchanging gunfire with officers, including one he shot nine times.

Page was a 40-year-old Army veteran with a record of minor alcohol-related crimes and spotty employment history. He had performed with several so-called hate rock bands associated with white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.

Although investigators have interviewed more than 100 people, combed through Page's e-mail and recovered hundreds of pieces of evidence from his home and the temple, they say they may never know for certain what prompted the attack on the temple.

Members began returning on Thursday, after the FBI completed its onsite investigation. They replaced carpets and repaired walls damaged by gunfire. A waist-high bullet hole in a door jamb near the main prayer room was left unrepaired as a memorial to those killed.

They included three priests and the temple president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, who was shot as he tried to fend off Page with a small knife.

Hundreds more visitors showed up on Friday after a memorial service at a nearby high school. They brought flowers and offered their support.

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