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Sikh temple in Wisconsin reopens for construction

August 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Sikh temple at the center of the recent mass shooting in suburban Milwaukee has reopened for the first time.

The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wis. reopened on Thursday morning. Community leader Inderjeet Singh Dhillon said he and others are now working on cleanup and construction work.

A gunman burst into the temple on Sunday as services were about to begin, opening fire and fatally shooting six people and wounding three others, including a responding police officer who was hit nine times in the parking lot. A second officer shot the suspected shooter, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, in the stomach from about 75 feet away. Page then killed himself with a bullet to the head.

After the shooting, federal investigators roped off the temple to catalog the scene and search for clues. Investigators wrapped things up on Thursday and allowed Sikh leaders and construction workers inside to repair bullet holes and other damage, clean up blood stains and repaint walls. Their goal is to reopen to everyone by Friday morning.

The funerals for the six victims are scheduled for Friday at a local high school. Afterward, temple leaders hope to begin the traditional rite called "akhand path," a ceremony that involves a series of priests reading their holy book aloud from cover to cover. The process takes 48 hours.

Temple leaders plan to meet with Oak Creek police next week to discuss whether the temple should develop additional security measures, which might involve hiring security guards.

A motive behind the shooting remains unknown, but more information is coming out about the deceased shooter.

Page posted frequent messages on Internet forums for skinheads, urging members to be more active for their cause. He also played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy, and described himself as a member of the "Hammerskins Nation," a skinhead group rooted in Texas that has branches in Australia and Canada, according to the SITE Monitoring Service, a Maryland-based private intelligence firm that searches the Internet for extremist activity.

See photos from the scene of the shooting

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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