“If you are wanting to meet people, get involved and become active,” he wrote last year. “Stop hiding behind the computer or making excuses.”
A day after Page strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, authorities were trying to determine whether the 40-year-old Army veteran was taking his own advice when he opened fire on total strangers in a house of worship.
Detectives cautioned they might never know for sure. But the picture of Page that began to develop — found in dark corners of the Internet, in records from a dodgy Army career and throughout a life lived on the margins — suggested he was a white supremacist who wanted to see his beliefs advanced with action.
The FBI said Wednesday that a police officer shot Page in the stomach outside the Sikh Temple and that he then fatally shot himself in the head. Police had said he had been killed by the officer.
Page 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.
Between March 2010 and the middle of this year, Page posted 250 messages on one skinhead site and appeared eager to recruit others. In March 2011, he advertised for a “family friendly” barbecue in North Carolina, imploring others to attend.
In November, Page challenged an online poster who indicated he would leave the United States if Herman Cain was elected president.
“Stand and fight, don't run,” he implored.
In an April message, Page said: “Passive submission is indirect support to the oppressors. Stand up for yourself and live the 14 words,” a reference to a common white supremacists mantra.
The bald, heavily tattooed bassist was trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago. After leaving the military, he became active in the obscure underworld of white supremacist music, playing in bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.
Still, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards
cautioned Monday that investigators might never know for certain what motivated the attack on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee. So far, no hate-filled manifesto had emerged nor any angry blog or ranting Facebook entries.
“We have a lot of information to decipher, to put it all together before we can positively tell you what that motive is — if we can determine that,” Edwards said.
The FBI was leading the investigation because the shooting was considered domestic terrorism. The agency said it had no reason to believe anyone other than Page was involved.
Page entered the temple as several dozen people prepared for Sunday services. He opened fire without saying a word. The six dead ranged in age from 39 to 84 years old. Three people were wounded, including a police officer. Hospital officials said they all remained in critical condition early Tuesday.
The president of the temple died defending the house of worship he founded.
Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, managed to find a
simple butter knife in the temple and attempted to stab the gunman before being shot twice, his son said Monday.
Amardeep Singh Kaleka said FBI agents hugged him, shook his hand and told him his father was a hero.
With their turbans and long beards, Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims or Arabs and have inadvertently become targets of anti-Muslim bias in the United States.
Federal officials said the gun used in the attack had been legally purchased. Page had been licensed to own weapons since at least 2008, when he paid $5 each for five pistol-purchase permits in North Carolina.