A gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple in a suburban Milwaukee community of Oak Creek on Sunday, Aug. 5. After two hours of confusion, police have confirmed that at least seven people, including the suspected shooter, were killed.
At least three more were wounded, hospital officials have confirmed.
A 20-year veteran police officer who showed up first on the scene killed the gunman but was hit in the shootout. He was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.
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At the time of the attack, the worshipers were preparing for a meal and many women and children were supposed to be inside the large temple. Even more people could have been hurt if the attack happened just a little later.
The shootings started in the parking lot and continued inside. Smiran Kaleka, the niece of one of the wounded men, said an unknown number of gunmen walked into the kitchen of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and started shooting. She said her mother had told her the shooters were white men.
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Police officers are calling the shooting an act of "domestic terrorism," said local police chief John Edwards. "We are treating it as a domestic terrorist incident and therefore the FBI has the resources," Edwards told AFP.
According to police, multiple 911 calls from the temple started coming in at approximately 10:25 a.m. local time. Friends and relatives also started receiving updates from their loved ones hiding inside.
Seven dead in shooting at Sikh temple in WisconsinGunman killed at scene, six others killed at temple
A man who said his father had been wounded in the incident reported that there had been multiple shooters of Caucasian descent, quoting people inside the temple. "It was a very coordinated thing," the man, identified as Amardeep Kaleka, told police.
Some initial reports from witnesses also suggested that hostages were being held inside the temple and that multiple gunmen were involved. However, during an afternoon update, a police spokesperson said that they have found only one shooter so far. Witnesses observing the situation from different angles may misread the situation, the spokesperson explained.
Just two weeks ago, when a tragic theatre massacre killed 12 and left 58 wounded during a midnight screening of Dark Knight Rises in Colorado, some witnesses reportedly thought that multiple gunmen were involved as well.
However, heavily armed officers continued to canvas the sprawling temple complex, searching for other possible suspects on Sunday afternoon.
With files from Reuters