Gurudwara shooting act of domestic terrorism: Police
New York: The shooting incident at a Gurudwara in Wisconsin that left seven people dead, including the gunman, and three injured is an act of "domestic terrorism", police authorities have said.
Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards told reporters outside the Gurudwara that the police is "treating the incident as (an act) of domestic terrorism". He said domestic terrorism is when somebody "does active terrorism within the US."
He said the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) will oversee the criminal investigation.
Six people were killed by an unidentified gunman yesterday after he opened fire at a congregation inside the Gurudwara in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The gunman had also shot at a police officer, who had returned the fire. The police officer shot at the gunman who has been declared dead.
After nearly six hours of search and rescue efforts, the Gurudwara has been cleared and people have been evacuated from the building.
Giving details of the incident, police said they got a 911 call on at around 10:30 Sunday morning about a shooter in the Gurudwara. Eyewitnesses and family of those at the Sikh place of worship said there were several women and children inside the building and some took shelter in closets as the gunman opened fire.
A police officer was injured in the shooting and was rushed to a local hospital where he is expected to recover from multiple gunshot wounds. Two other injured people were admitted to the hospital in critical condition.
Lee Biblo, Chief Medical Officer at the Froedhert Hospital where the injured are being treated, described the injured as adult males over the age of 40 who were shot in the face and abdomen.
Biblo told CNN that the three received "significant injuries" and the doctors are doing their best to treat them. He said one of the injured received multiple gun shot wounds in the face.
Some other people who were injured in the incident are being treated at other hospitals and places.
Oak Creek Police Chief Edwards said the situation could have been worst.
Police has recovered "weapons" on the scene. CNN said police have seized two semi-automatic handguns from the shooting site. Initial reports by eyewitnesses and those inside the gurudwara had said there were more than one gunman but Edwards said "the best information we have is that there was only one gunman."
Law enforcement officials are "methodically searching" the area near the gurudwara for any other person who could have been involved in the shooting.
The police does not yet have any information about the gunman and say no other suspect is in custody. Edwards did not give out information about the number of people who were inside the gurudwara at the time of the shooting.
He said crime scene technicians would scan the area and an extensive investigation has been launched into the incident.
The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel said among those who were shot at was the president of the temple, Satwant Kaleka, who was taken to the Froedtert Hospital. Gurmit Kaleka, a nephew of the victim, was at the hospital and said he was in surgery.
One of the temple's committee members Ven Boba Ri said that based on inputs from people inside the temple, the shooter was a white male in his 30s.
"We have no idea," he said of the motive. "It's pretty much a hate crime. It's not an insider."
According to Ri, the man started shooting after he walked up to a priest who was standing outside, and shot him. Then he went inside and started shooting.
People inside the temple were using cell phones to call their friends and family outside, Ri added.
Gulpreet Kaur said her mother was inside the kitchen when the shooting started. She took refuge inside a pantry with about 15 people.
"Two bullets passed by on either side of her, her friend was hit in the foot," said Kaur, 24, who grew up in Oak Creek.
Kaur was allowed into a bowling alley across from the temple with other family members of witnesses several hours after the rampage.
Kaur said her mother was traumatised by what happened. She was injured in the foot from gun shrapnel.
"A lot of effort went into building this temple," said Kaur. "It's surreal to think something like this would happen here."