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Nation/World

August 7, 2012

Gunman in Sikh temple attack was white supremacist

OAK CREEK, Wis. — Before he strode into a Sikh temple with a 9 mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.

The bald, heavily tattooed bassist was a 40-year-old Army veteran who trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago.

A day after he killed six worshippers at the suburban Milwaukee temple, fragments of Page's life emerged in public records and interviews. But his motive was still largely a mystery. He left no hate-filled manifesto, no angry blog or ranting Facebook entries to explain the attack.

Page, who was shot to death by police, joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998. He was described yesterday by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "frustrated neo-Nazi" who had long been active in the obscure underworld of white supremacist music.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., said Page played in groups whose sometimes sinister-sounding names seemed to "reflect what he went out and actually did." The music often talked about genocide against Jews and other minorities.

In a 2010 interview, Page told a white supremacist website that he became active in white-power music in 2000, when he left his native Colorado and started the band End Apathy in 2005.

He told the website his inspiration was "based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole," according to the law center. He did not mention violence.

End Apathy's MySpace page said the group was based in Nashville, N.C.

Joseph Rackley, who lives in Nashville, said yesterday that Page lived with his son for about six months last year in a house on Rackley's property.

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