The killer who opened fire Sunday at Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, killing at least seven people before he was shot to death by police, has been identified as Wade M. Page.
Preliminary reports indicate Page was an Army veteran who also belonged to White supremacist groups and had been monitored for more than a decade by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the activity of prominent White supremacist organization. Page also may have been discharged in a less than honorable manner from the Army.
According to reports, Page led a “white-power” band called End Apathy that, according to the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, played music that “is incredibly violent” that promoted “murdering Jews, black people, gay people and a whole host of other enemies.”
He went to Hammerfest, an annual White supremacist festival, and was involved with the group Stormfront. Undercover agents have come forward in recent days and have said they remembered meeting Page at these gatherings.
It also appears Page told neighbors that he had enlisted in the Army after September 11, but, according to records, he left the military in 1998 after having completed training at Fort Still (Oklahoma), Fort Bliss (Texas) and Fort Bragg (North Carolina). Records show he was listed as a “psychological operations specialist.”
The New York Times claims, from “a source familiar with Mr. Page’s military history,” that page had received an “other than honorable” discharge from the Army.
Pentagon officials told the Times that Page had been demoted, from sergeant to specialist, before he left the Army.
According to Times, while Page was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas in June of 1994, he was arrested and charged with criminal mischief for being intoxicated and kicking holes into the wall at a pool bar. He seems to have had a pattern of incidents associated with being under the influence of alcohol.
Here are some other details about Page from initial media reports:
He legally purchased the gun used in the shooting, according to reports.
Page is from Colorado and, after leaving the Army, the Times reports that he lived in North Carolina, where a property he owned was foreclosed on in January.
Page’s neighbor said he had broken up with a girlfriend in June.
More details will emerge about the killer and the requisite caution will be required in not jumping to conclusions given the media’s past sloppiness when reporting on these high-profile and tragic incidents.