Mass shooting at Sikh Temple of Wisconsin- Seven killed
Seven people have been killed in a shooting at a Sikh temple in the US with the suspected gunman shot dead by police.
The shooting took place on Sunday morning at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, outside the city of Milwaukee. Police said five
were found dead inside the temple and three found dead outside. One of the dead was believed to be the gunman.
CNN reported a police officer had shot and killed a suspect and the officer was wounded in the exchange of gunfire. There were unconfirmed witness reports that the shooter had accomplices. “An officer arrived on scene. He engaged an active shooter. The officer was shot multiple times. He has been transported to a local hospital and is expected to survive,” police spokesman Bradley Wentlandt told WTMJ radio. “The shooter was put down.”
Mr Wentlandt described the scene as chaotic and urged the media not to broadcast photos or video showing tactical units, which could put officers in danger, AP reported. Lee Biblo, chief medical officer for Froedert Hospital, the main trauma centre in the Milwaukee area, told CNN three men have been taken there in critical condition and the hospital had trauma surgeons ready to receive more.
Froederdt Hospital spokeswoman Carolyn Bellin told AP the three victims are all men. She did not have their identities or know why they were at the temple on Sunday morning when the shootings occurred.
Ms Belliin says one of the men is in the operating room, another is in a surgical intensive care unit and the third is being evaluated in the emergency room. There are more than a dozen ambulances parked outside the temple, and police have corralled media and a handful of bystanders to an area near the temple. A SWAT team entered the building and led some uninjured people away from the scene, the Journal Sentinel reported.
Temple committee member Ven Boba Ri told the newspaper that witnesses inside the building had described the shooter as a white male in his 30s. Mr Ri said he had “no idea” of the possible motive, but added: “It’s pretty much a hate crime. It’s not an insider.”
The Journal Sentinel added that the president of the temple was among those shot and at one point the head priest of the temple had been locked inside a bathroom with a mobile phone. Sukhwindar Nagr, of Racine, told AP he had called his brother-in-law’s phone and a priest at the temple answered and told him that his brother-in-law had been shot, along with three priests. The priest also said women and children were hiding in closets in the temple, Mr Nagr said. Oak Creek is south of Milwaukee along Lake Michigan.
Fran McLaughlin, spokeswoman for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, says a call about the shooting came in at 10.26am local time.
Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in bias attacks since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the US since then, which advocates blame on anti-Islamic sentiment. Sikhs don’t practice the same religion as Muslims, but their long beards and turbans often cause them to be mistaken for Muslims, advocates say.
Sikhism is a monotheistic faith that was founded in South Asia more than 500 years ago. It has roughly 27 million followers worldwide. Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair; male followers often cover their heads with turbans – which are considered sacred – and refrain from shaving their beards.
There are roughly 500,000 Sikhs in the US, according to estimates. The majority of Sikhs are living in India, where over 20,000 Sikhs were killed, once Indian armed forces attacked Golden Temple in 1984.