OAK CREEK: The former US soldier suspected of shooting six Sikhs dead at a temple in Wisconsin was a frustrated neo-Nazi who used online forums to vent his rage and had led a white supremacist punk band.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Wade Michael Page, 40, had ties to white supremacist groups and had become subject of a “domestic terrorism” probe following Sunday's massacre at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.
He was shot dead by police on Sunday, but not before he managed to kill six members of the Milwaukee area Sikh community attending a religious service.
In an April 2010 interview about his musical ambitions, the former US Army psychological operations specialist said he felt “frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole.”
Page was a member of the Hammerskins Nation, a group that describes itself on its website as a “leaderless group of men and women who have adopted the White Power Skinhead Lifestyle,” the SITE Intelligence Group said in a report.
“He was identified as a mentor for aspiring skinheads,” SITE said, noting that Page “engaged in extensive online activity,” and maintained user accounts on “some of the most prominent white supremacist forums.” He issued messages “urging active resistance 'regardless of the outcome,'” and in posts “urged members of the forum not to leave the United States upon the implementation of policies and social developments that they opposed.” Stand and fight, don't run,” Page said, according to SITE.
Page told the website of white-power record label Label 56 he started the band “End Apathy” in 2005 to seek “positive results... in our sick society.”
Photographs of the three-man band, featuring two of Page's friends on bass and drums, on its Myspace webpage showed the ex-soldier with a shaved head and gothic tattoos all over his body.
The band logo featured a screaming skull with sharp teeth and spikes sticking out the top. Page told Label 56 Topics that End Apathy's songs cover “sociological issues, religion, and how the value of human life has been degraded by being submissive to tyranny and hypocrisy that we are subjugated to.”
The label's site sells End Apathy shirts, stickers and vinyl records.
Page said he first got involved in white power music in 2000, when he left his native Colorado.
He played guitar and bass for a string of hate rock bands that included Celtic Warrior, Radikahl, Max Resist, Intimidation One, Aggressive Force and Blue Eyed Devils.
Respected civil rights group the Southern Poverty Law Center branded Page a “frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.” It said he had tried to purchase goods from the National Alliance, a major US hate group, in 2000.
Page's neighbor, 53-year-old retiree John Hoyt, said Page had claimed he had twice been deployed to Iraq, but Pentagon records show that he joined the army one year after the first Gulf War and left well before the 2003 US invasion.
Page served in the military between April 1992 and October 1998, ending his career at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
He received his basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma before being moved to Fort Bliss in Texas. Fort Bragg is home to many of the US Army's airborne units and its Special Operations Command.
According to the Pentagon, Page was a qualified parachutist who received commendation medal, five achievement medals, two good conduct medals, the National Defense Service Medal and a Humanitarian Service Medal.
But he left with the relatively junior enlisted rank of specialist E-4.