WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has said Americans would “recoil in shock” if the Wisconsin Gurudwara shooting incident turns out to be a hate crime and the attack should prompt some “soul searching” on how to reduce recurring violence in the country.
“All of us are heart-broken by what happened,” Obama told reporters at the White House, two days after a former US army veteran opened fire on Sikh worshippers preparing for religious services, killing six before he was shot dead by a police officer.
Raising alarm over the regularity of such violent incidents in the US, Obama said, “I think all of us recognize that these kinds of terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul-searching and to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence.”
Obama said that Americans would “recoil” in shock if it turned out that the gunman was motivated by ethnic hatred, and said he was “heartbroken” by the incident on Sunday.
“If it turns out, as some early reports indicate, that it may have been motivated in some way by the ethnicity of those who were attending the temple, I think the American people immediately recoil against those kinds of attitudes,” he said yesterday.
“I think it will be very important for us to reaffirm once again that, in this country, regardless of what we look like, where we come from, who we worship, we are all one people, and we look after one another and we respect one another,” he said.
“We don’t yet know fully what motivated this individual to carry out this terrible act,” said the US President in response to a question at the Oval Office.
Meanwhile, the FBI has ruled out involvement of a second suspect saying the attack was carried out by the lone gunman Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old former US army’s psychological operations specialist.
According to the profile of Page that has emerged through people and civil organizations which monitored his actions, he regularly attended hate events, was an ardent believer in the white supremacist movement and was associated with rock bands whose violent music talked about murdering Jews and black people.
Page was a “frustrated neo-Nazi” who had been the leader of a racist white-power band known as ‘End Apathy’.
Media reports have said Page was a “white supremacist” and a “skin head.”
The FBI yesterday said the motive behind the shooting is still being assessed.
The carnage came as the nation is still reeling from a mass shooting two weeks ago in which a gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 at a movie theater in Aurora in Colorado. -PTI