'White Supremacist' Shooter Served in US Army

Tattoos convinced authorities it was domestic terrorism: sources

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 5, 2012 11:25 PM CDT | Updated Aug 6, 2012 5:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – Federal investigators believe that the gunman in the deadly Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting was a "white supremacist" who acted alone—and they classified it as domestic terrorism based in part on the messages tattooed on his body (which reportedly include a 9/11 tattoo on one arm), sources say. The shooter (IDed this morning as Wade Michael Page) had been discharged from the US Army, sources tell NBC and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was shot dead by a cop after he opened fire yesterday morning inside the Oak Creek temple, killing six, including congregation president Satwant Kaleka, who reportedly tried to tackle the shooter.

Law enforcement officers quickly descended on the gunman's home, the upper level of a duplex apartment in nearby Cudahy, and evacuated the neighborhood. The shooter, believed to be in his early 40s, reportedly rented the apartment just over a month ago. His only brush with the law appears to involve traffic tickets, notes NBC. Besides the tattoos, certain "biographical details" also convinced authorities that the shooting was domestic terrorism, a source told the Los Angeles Times. A domestic terrorism label indicates a political agenda, according to law enforcement authorities, but sources say the gunman didn't appear to be formally connected to a hate organization or to a terrorist group. But two sources have told ABC News that the shooter was apparently a "white supremacist" or "skinhead." It is "being investigated," said an ATF agent.

Police stand guard as bystanders watch at the scene of a shooting inside a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
A man holds his child during a candle light vigil for the Sikh Temple shooting victims.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Mourners take part in a candle light vigil for the victims of the Sikh Temple shooting.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
An FBI vehicle moves in front of the Sikh Temple at Oak Creek, Wis., after an unidentified gunman shot dead six people.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
A man is overcome with emotion outside the Oak Creek Sikh Temple yesterday.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Police personnel move outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek where a gunman shot dead six people.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
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