Gurdwara shooting: Obama mourn victims

Last Updated: Monday, August 6, 2012 - 14:07

Washington: The FBI has begun investigating Sunday`s attack on a Gurdwara in a Milwaukee suburb that left seven people dead, including the shooter, as an act of domestic terrorism but no motive has been determined.

FBI officials also confirmed Sunday night that they are investigating a home in Cudahy, Wisconsin - presumably that of the shooter - in relation to the incident, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

It is not clear whether it was domestic terrorism, US Attorney James Santelle was quoted as saying. "My focus is not on what category it is but what happened and the loss of life in Oak Creek," he said.

Oak Creek police officers who responded to a 911 call just before 10.30 am Sunday about the shooting were helping a victim when the shooter ambushed one of the officers, shooting the officer multiple times, said Oak Creek Police chief John Edwards.

A second Oak Creek officer returned fire, killing the shooter, Edwards said.

The Journal Sentinel citing a source familiar with the investigation said the shooter was a white male in his 40s who had been discharged from the army. The source said one firearm was recovered as well as multiple magazines.

White House officials said President Barack Obama was notified of the shootings shortly before 1 pm by John Brennan, his homeland security adviser. The president continues to receive updates.

After receiving a briefing at 4.30 p.m. from Brennan, FBI Director Bob Mueller, Chief of Staff Jack Lew, Obama called Governor Scott Walker, Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi and trustee of the Sikh Temple Charanjeet Singh to express his condolences for the lives lost and his concern for those who were injured.

Calling Sikhs "a part of our broader American family", Obama in a White House statement promised his administration`s full support to the response and investigation of Sunday`s rampage at a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin.

"As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family," he said.

"My administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting and moving forward with an investigation," Obama said.

And from Boston, Obama`s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, called the slayings "a senseless act of violence and a tragedy that should never befall any house of worship".

Hours after the shooting, the Indian Embassy issued a statement saying it is "seized of the situation and has been in touch with the National Security Council". It also sent an official to the site to monitor the situation.

Sikh community groups started emergency response to the gurdwara shooting as messages of condemnation and sympathy came from other community organisations and US national and state political leaders.

"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, as we all struggle to comprehend the evil that begets this terrible violence," Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said in a statement issued by his office.

The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh American civil rights organisation in the US, said it has been in touch with both the FBI`s Civil Rights Division and the White House and both have promised to continue to be in touch with its staff as they monitor the situation closely.

With over 25 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with over 700,000 followers in the US, the coalition said.

IANS



First Published: Monday, August 6, 2012 - 11:59

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