Prayers and hymns at Sikh temple's first Sunday service since shooting

The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin held its first Sunday service since the fatal shooting August 5. More than 100 worshipers gathered.

John Gress/Reuters
Mourners prepare for a candlelight vigil at the Sikh Temple in Brookfield, Wisconsin August 6. On Sunday the temple held its first services since the shooting; over 100 worshipers attended.

More than 100 people gathered in suburban Milwaukee for the first Sunday prayer service at a Sikh temple since a white supremacist shot and killed six people there before fatally shooting himself.

Women sang hymns as a group lowered a flag pole outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. A group of about 50 men and boys unwrapped the orange cloth covering the pole, washed the pole with water and milk and then rewrapped it with a fresh cloth. The group then planned to go inside the temple for more prayers and hymns.

Army veteran Wade Michael Page used a 9 mm pistol Aug. 5 to kill five men, one woman and wound three other people, including a police officer, in an ambush on the temple that took place shortly before a service was to begin. He took his own life after exchanging gunfire with officers, including one he shot nine times.

Page was a 40-year-old Army veteran with a record of minor alcohol-related crimes and spotty employment history. He had performed with several so-called hate rock bands associated with white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups.

Although investigators have interviewed more than 100 people, combed through Page's email and recovered hundreds of pieces of evidence from his home and the temple, they say they may never know for certain what prompted the attack on the temple.

Members began returning Thursday, after the FBI completed its onsite investigation. They replaced carpets and repaired walls damaged by gunfire. A dime-sized, waist-high bullet hole in a door jamb near the main prayer room was left unrepaired as a memorial to those killed. They included three priests and the temple president, president Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, who was shot as he tried to fend off Page with a small knife.

Hundreds more visitors showed up Friday after a memorial service at a nearby high school. They brought flowers and offered their support.

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