Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki expressed sorrow and promised his prayers after a gunman fatally shot six people at a local Sikh temple before being killed by police.
“Our prayers go out to the congregation at the temple and to the entire Sikh community,” Archbishop Listecki said in an Aug. 5 statement responding to the Sunday morning murders, committed by Wade Michael Page at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.
“It is in times like these that we turn to God, who is the consolation and hope for all of us,” the Milwaukee archbishop reflected.
The archdiocese expressed its closeness to victims as well as families, friends and emergency responders involved in the shooting.
Several dozen adherents of the Indian religion were reportedly gathering for a service when Page began shooting with a 9mm handgun, killing six people and seriously wounding three, including one police officer. A fourth victim has been treated and released from the hospital.
Page was shot dead by the police. He was later identified as a 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran who had served for six years before being discharged for misconduct in 1998. His motive for the shootings is unknown.
The FBI is investigating the murders as a case of domestic terrorism. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks white supremacists and others it classifies as “hate groups,” said on Monday that Page was “a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.”
Sikhism, founded during the late 15th century, is one of India's main religions and the majority religion in the Punjab region. It has around 27 million members, around 500,000 of whom live in the U.S.