Wade Michael Page: Shooter Also Led Band Classified as White Supremacist Group
The gunman in Sunday's Sikh Temple shooting is a Colorado native who led a music group that has been classified as one supporting white-supremacist ideology. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1998 after six years of service.
The 40-year-old Army veteran identified as the shooter inside an Oak Creek Sikh Temple on Sunday was a Colorado native who sang and played guitar in a band that may have had white-supremacist motives.
Wade Michael Page, who was residing in a rented duplex in Cudahy, appeared in 2010 in an interview on Label56.com — which the Southern Poverty Law Center identified as being a white supremacist website. The discussion focused around his band, End Apathy.
"I am originally from Colorado and had always been independent, but back in 2000 I set out to get involved and wanted to basically start over," Page said in the interview. "End Apathy began in 2005 and the concept was based on trying to figure out what it would take to actually accomplish positive results in society and what is holding us back. ... (My lyric topics focus on) sociological issues, religion, and how the value of human life has been degraded by being submissive to tyranny and hypocrisy that we are subjugated to."
Among music posted on his MySpace page are songs titled, "Self Destruct," "Usefull Idiots," "GCPC," "Submission," and "Insignificant." The MySpace page includes photos of Page. Fox6now.com also has a gallery of photos of Page.
According to the band’s bio on My Space, "End Apathy began in 2005 with roots in old school hardcore punk and metal influences. The music is a sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress." Some of the band's photos show Nazi flags and insignias in the background.
Address searches show the shooter had lived in Littleton, CO, the site of the Columbine massacre in 1999. However, communications officials with Columbine High School said there is no record of him attending that school. Littleton has more than one school district.
The Communications director with the other school district (not Columbine) in Littleton was checking to see whether Page graduated from that district, but said she likely couldn't comment either way because of the open law enforcement investigation. She referred a reporter to the FBI office in Milwaukee.
Patch reached a family member of Page's in Colorado. "We have nothing to say. Please respect our privacy," she said, before hanging up.
At least seven people have been confirmed dead, and three in critical condition at Froedtert Hospital. Page, who was armed with a 9-millimeter, semi-automatic pistol during Sunday's shooting, according to CBSnews.com, was also shot and killed by a police officer during the incident.
Page was also part of another band called 13 Knots; its MySpace page contains numerous photos of nooses. Page was the lead guitarist for the band, which also contains confederate references. That band's album cover also contains a noose, along with an eagle and the word "justice."
Another photo shows a band member with his head in a noose and holding a large knife. Another band member wears a shirt that says "white pride world wide." Songs included titles such as, "Southern War Hymn" and "Runnin' From the Law."
Witnesses described the attacker "as a bald, white man, dressed in a white T-shirt and black pants and with a 9/11 tattoo on one arm," according to WPTV.com.
While no motive has been officially determined in the incident, officials have described it as act of domestic terrorism.
Sikh Indians, because of religious tradition, wear turbans to cover their uncut hair and have longer beards. They are often mistaken for Muslims and have been the targets of racially-motivated crimes by anti-Muslim people and groups.
A search on Wisconsin Court System Circuit Court Access shows no criminal — or even traffic — violation history for Page. According to BuzzFeed.com, Page pleaded guilty in 1994 to a Texas misdemeanor for causing criminal damage to property between $20 and $200; he was placed on probation. He also went by the last name Pierson, according to Texas records.
According to Renee Railey, spokeswoman for the El Paso district attorney's office, Page was convicted of a misdemeanor for criminal mischief in 1994. He was living at Fort Bliss, an Army base at the time. He was intoxicated and "causing a disturbance inside a bar called the Attic." There was a group playing pool and Page started "kicking holes in a sheet rock wall with the back of his boot." He completed a term of probation. EL Paso police say the bar no longer exists.
Other address records also show that Page went by the last name Vanbuskirk, and had previously lived in South Milwaukee. He had also lived in California and North Carolina. Cumberland County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina released redacted gun permits dated in 2008 for Page, showing five permits issued — all good for five years.
His landlord, Kurt Weins, told the Journal-Sentinel he was surprised by what had happened.
"I had (Page) checked out and he definitely checked out," Weins told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The cops told me they don’t want me to say nothing right now."
The mother of the suspected shooter's landlord told Patch the man police are investigating as the gunman was "quiet" and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend.
Page served 6 years in the Army he was discharged for "under honorable conditions," according to Fort Bragg Patch, citing a Foxnews.com report. That is less than an honorable discharge but not as severe as a dishonorable discharge. At a press briefing Monday, Oak Creek and federal authorities confirmed Page was in the military from 1992-98 and his discharge prevented him from re-enlistment.
Officials at Fort Bragg on Monday could not confirm Page's assignment at the psychological operations unit, where Fox News said he was placed, or at Fort Bragg.
Reporter Jessica McBride and Fort Bragg Patch Local Editor Kelly Twedell also contributed to this report.