A distraught women is helped to a car outside of the Sikh temple
7 dead in shooting at US Sikh temple
Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August 6, 2012
A gunman killed six people and critically wounded three at a Sikh temple during Sunday services before police shot him dead in an attack that authorities are treating as an act of domestic terrorism.
Witnesses said the gunman opened fire when he entered the kitchen at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee at about 10:30 am CDT (1530 GMT) as women prepared a Sunday meal, sending worshippers fleeing to escape the barrage.
The suspect was a bald, white man, approximately 40 years old, said Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Authorities did not release his identity.
Four people were shot dead inside the sprawling temple. Three, including the gunman, were killed outside.
The gunman ambushed and shot a police officer who was responding to a 911 call and helping a shooting victim, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said. A second officer shot and killed the gunman.
Edwards said he had no identification for the shooter nor information on what kind of weapon or weapons he had. The victims' identities and descriptions were not made public.
The wounded officer, a 20-year veteran, was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. Hospital officials said two other victims, also in critical condition, were being treated.
Law enforcement personnel surrounded and searched a gray, two-storey house in the Cudahy neighborhood presumed to be the residence of the gunman on Sunday evening. Generators and floodlights were set up along the middle-class block.
A police source confirmed that a search warrant had been issued for the house, and a bomb squad was on the scene.
Temple member and US Army Reserve combat medic Jagpal Singh, 29, said people who were at the service when the shooting broke out described to him a scene of chaos and confusion.
Worshippers scrambled to escape the gunfire, but some tragically ran in the wrong direction. Others survived the rampage by locking themselves in bathrooms, he said.
Singh said the eyewitnesses described the shooter as a white man who was either shave-headed or bald.
Turban-wearing Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is overseeing the probe into shootings, Edwards said.
"We're treating this as a domestic terrorist incident," he told reporters. Officials had no details about a possible motive.
Milwaukee's Froedtert Hospital said three male victims included one who had been shot in the abdomen, one in the extremities and face, and a third who was hit in the neck.
Sunday's attack came just over two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58. In January 2011, then-congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords was the target of an assassination attempt in which six people were killed and 13 were wounded in Tucson, Arizona.
"The gunman is worse than the one at the theater a couple of weeks ago because he targeted an entire community," said Jagatjit Sidhu, who was among dozens of temple members and onlookers gathered near the sealed off temple. - Reuters