Shooting at Sikh temple in Wisconsin leaves at least 7 dead, including gunman
Police say at least seven people, including a gunman, were killed in a shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee Sunday.
Police were called to respond to the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in the suburb of Oak Creek on Sunday morning, when witnesses said several dozen people were gathering for a service.
Sunny Singh, 21, of Milwaukee, said a friend pulled into the temple's parking lot, heard shots and saw two people fall down. The friend then saw the shooter reload his weapons and head to the temple's entrance, Singh said.
Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt said four people were found dead inside the temple, while three, including the suspected shooter, were found dead outside.
Tactical units went through the temple, and authorities do not believe a second shooter was involved, Wentlandt said.
Wentlandt said the shooting suspect opened fire on an 20-year veteran officer, who then "put down" that man. Wentlandt said the officer was shot multiple times and he is being treated in surgery, but his condition is not known.
The officer is expected to recover, Wentlandt said.
He described the scene as chaotic and fluid and urged the media not to broadcast photos or video showing tactical units, which could put officers in danger. Police responded to the shooting with a dozen ambulances.
"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, as we all struggle to comprehend the evil that begets this terrible violence," Milwaukee Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement. "At the same time, we are filled with gratitude for our first responders, who show bravery and selflessness as they put aside their own safety to protect our neighbors and friends."
Three other shooting victims, all men, were taken to Froederdt Hospital in Milwaukee, the main trauma center for the area, spokeswoman Carolyn Bellin said. One was in the operating room, another in a surgical intensive care unit and the third was being evaluated in the emergency room, she said.
According to the Journal Sentinel, there could be as many as 30 victims; among those shot was the president of the temple.
“Since I’ve been alderman, for about three years, there has never been any trouble, or any problems,” County Alderman Dan Jakupczyk told Fox News of the temple. “They have been good citizens.”
One of the temple's committee members, Ven Boba Ri, told the Journal Sentinel that the shooting was very sad, and he has been fielding calls all morning from around the world, including India.
"Sikhism is such a peaceful religion. We have suffered for generations, in India and even here."
A White House official said President Obama was notified of the shooting and is continuing to receive updates.
"At this difficult time, the people of Oak Creek must know that the American people have them in our thoughts and prayers, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded," Obama said in a statement.
The NYPD also announced, out of caution, a heightened police presence at Sikh temples in New York City.
Sikhism is a monotheistic faith that was founded in South Asia more than 500 years ago.
It has roughly 27 million followers worldwide. Observant Sikhs do not cut their hair; male followers often cover their heads with turbans -- which are considered sacred -- and refrain from shaving their beards. There are roughly 500,000 Sikhs in the U.S., according to estimates. The majority worldwide live in India.
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