The man accused in a shooting rampage at a Wisconsin Sikh temple last weekend tried to celebrate Hitler’s birthday in Southern California, where civil rights groups say the 40-year-old Army veteran has been on their radar for years. Vikki Vargas reports from Buena Park for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on August 9, 2012.
The man accused in a shooting rampage at a Wisconsin Sikh temple last weekend tried to celebrate Hitler’s birthday in Southern California, where civil rights groups say the 40-year-old Army veteran has been on their radar for years.
The Anti-Defamation League says they noticed Wade Page for his membership in two white supremacist rock bands, Definite Hate and End Apathy.
A decade ago, the ADL says Page was part of another band called Youngland. In 2002, the Orange County-based group tried to rent the La Habra Moose Lodge to celebrate Hitler’s birthday. But when police learned of the event, it was cancelled.
Vigils have dotted Southern California in memory of the shooting victims. On Thursday, vigils were planned in Buena Park and North Hollywood.
The Army veteran moved to Wisconsin in 2011, where he became active with one of the largest white supremacist groups in the country, the ADL said.
“He became a prospect but wasn’t fully patched until 2011 when he became a member and got the Hammerskin tattoo,” Mark Pitcavage, with the ADL, told NBC 4.
Hammerskin nation’s website notes its goal as securing “the existence of our people and the future of white children.”
But ADL officials say they never expected what happened last Sunday, when police say Page walked into a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and killed six people before turning the gun on himself after exchanging fire with police.
Jasjit Kaur, with the California Sikh Council, says the shooting in Wisconsin was an attack on all faiths.
“This isn’t a Sikh tragedy, it’s a national tragedy and everybody has been standing with us,” Kaur said.
She says the temple, or guardar, is surrounded by doors that never close.
“It is meant to be open to anyone of any background from all walks of life,” she said.