MILWAUKEE – There’s no trial to prepare, no jury to persuade, no judge to hand down a sentence.
Wade Michael Page is dead, having shot himself in the head after being wounded by police responding to the fatal shooting of six people at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee. Although detectives have interviewed more than 100 people, combed through Page’s email and recovered evidence from the scene – 139 items were taken from the temple’s parking lot alone – their findings might never be presented in court.
“We have not identified anyone else responsible for the shooting and we have not identified a motive,” Teresa Carlson, FBI special agent in charge in Milwaukee, told a Wednesday news conference.
So will the full story behind the attack ever be known? And how long will investigators keep looking for an elusive motive that might provide answers to devastated Sikh families, as well as valuable information about white supremacists?
At the moment, detectives are sifting through the gunman’s life, assembling the biography of a man who apparently had few relatives, a spotty work history and a thin criminal record. They have warned they might never learn for certain what drove him to attack total strangers in a holy place. Carlson said Wednesday that investigators have not found any kind of note left by Page.
The Sikh community holds out hope.
“We just want to get to the bottom of what motivated him to do it,” said Amardeep Singh, an executive with the New York-based Sikh Coalition. “It’s important to acknowledge why they lost their lives.”
The 40-year-old Army veteran strode into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shortly before Sunday services and opened fire with a 9 mm pistol. The dead included temple President Satwant Singh Kaleka, who was shot as he tried to fend off the shooter with a butter knife.
Page shot a responding police officer in the parking lot at least eight times before another officer wounded Page in a shootout.
Police had earlier said the second officer killed Page, but Carlson said Wednesday that it’s been determined Page shot himself in the head after being hit and died of the self-inflicted wound.
Todd Richmond can be reached at trichmond(at)ap.org. Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.