In what is being described as an “act of domestic terrorism’’, a gunman opened fire inside a Gurudwara in Wisconsin as the congregation was making preparations for Sunday morning prayers, killing at least six people and critically injuring three others.

The tragic incident unfolded at around 10:30 pm yesterday as members of the Sikh community were gathering at the 17,000 sq ft Gurudwara in Milwaukee’s Oak Creek suburb.

The unidentified gunman walked into the Gurudwara where he opened indiscriminate firing, killing six people. The gunman was also shot and killed by a police officer who also sustained serious injuries.

Police said there were a large number of women and children and the women were preparing meals to be served after the traditional prayer ceremony.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said the police is “treating the incident as a domestic terrorist-type incident.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation will oversee the criminal investigation.

Edwards said there were “numerous individual deceased” and “multiple injured’’.

President Barack Obama offered his condolences to the victims of the shooting and said that his Administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting and moving forward with an investigation.

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the shooting that tragically took so many lives in Wisconsin,” Obama said in a statement.

“As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family,” Obama said.

FBI Milwaukee Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson said the agency is working closely with the Oak Creek Police Department and other local and federal agencies to investigate the shooting incident.

“While the FBI is investigating whether this matter might be an act of domestic terrorism, no motive has been determined at this time,” Carlson said, adding that the investigation in still its early stages.

“We know our community has been deeply impacted by this incident, and our thoughts are with those affected and particularly with the officer who was wounded in the line of duty to protect others.”

Edwards said the shooter was among the three people who were found dead outside the Gurudwara, while four people were dead inside the building.

(This article was published on August 6, 2012)
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