Had been on the radar of anti-racism group since 2000
As more details emerged about the Wisconsin gurdwara slayer’s ‘neo-Nazi’ leanings, the FBI on Tuesday intensified its probe into his links to white supremacists to ascertain the motive for the former soldier to unleash his hatred on Sikh worshippers.
Wade Michael Page’s neighbours said he rarely left his one-bedroom house where he lived alone and never made eye contact, but civil organisations which had been monitoring his actions described the 40-year-old as a “frustrated neo-Nazi” who had been the leader of a white-power band.
The FBI said they were looking into Page’s ties to white supremacist groups but insisted there had been no warning signals for investigators to believe he was plotting something so vicious.
Special Agent Teresa Carlson, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Milwaukee office, said the gunman was the subject of a “domestic terrorism” probe.
The FBI also ruled out the involvement of a second person in the Sunday shooting, hours after releasing the picture of a “person of interest”. Officials cleared the man after interviewing him and affirmed that the slaying was the handiwork of a lone gunman.
It has emerged that the army veteran had regularly attended hate events, was an ardent believer in the white supremacist movement and was associated with rock bands whose violent music talked about murdering Jews and black people.
The director of Southern Poverty Law Center’s intelligence project, Heidi Beirich, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that her group had been tracking Page since 2000, when he tried to purchase goods from well-known hate group National Alliance.
She said her centre had evidence that Page attended “hate events” around the country.
Page said in a 2010 interview posted on the website of the record company Label56 that his music was about “how the value of human life has been degraded by tyranny.” Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a New York Times report that the music that comes from the kind of bands Page was affiliated with is “incredibly violent, and it talks about murdering Jews, black people, gay people and a whole host of other enemies.”
According to SITE Monitoring Service which follows white supremacist trends, Page had an extensive presence on white nationalist websites.
Reacting to the incident that came two weeks after a shooting rampage at a movie theatre in Colorado, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed concern over the recurring pattern of violence and asked Americans to do some “soul-searching”.
“I think it will be very important for us to reaffirm once again that, in this country, regardless of what we look like, where we come from, who we worship, we are all one people, and we look after one another and we respect one another,” he said.