CNN is breaking devastating news from Wisconsin, where a gunman apparently opened fire upon a congregation of worshippers at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, which is a Milwaukee suburb.
At least one gunman attacked worshippers at a Sikh temple in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, on Sunday, leaving at least one dead and two wounded while police converged on the site.
Some people are believed to be trapped inside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, and at least one gunman may still be inside, Alderman Dan Jakubczyk told CNN.
The number of injured ranges between 8 and 20, depending upon reports and there is speculation that there is one person dead. No motive has been established as of yet. At time of press, 1:58 EDT on Sunday, it is believed there are still people trapped inside the temple and speculation as to there being multiple perpetrators.
For the full CNN story, click here.
**UPDATE (2:02pm) The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel is reporting that at least 7 people, including one shooter, were killed in the attack on Sunday morning:
At least seven people were killed, including one shooter, just after 10 a.m. Sunday at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, police said…
SWAT team members were still sweeping the building about 1 p.m. and an explosion was heard from the building at that time. It was unclear what the explosion was.
The first officer on the scene encountered an active shooter and exchanged fire with him, according to Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt who briefed media on the scene.
The shooter went down and is believed to be dead, said Wentlandt, who is acting as police spokesman for the incident. He said authorities had no evidence of a second shooter.
Wentlandt said the officer was hit multiple times, but is expected to survive. He said the officer was a 20-year veteran and “an extremely accomplished tactical officer.” He was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa where he was in surgery just before 2 p.m.
Among those who were shot was the president of the temple, Satwant Kaleka, who was taken to a hospital.
The full story is available at the Journal Sentinel.
Many wonder who Sikhs are, and what Sikhs believe. According to Sikhs.org Sikhism is based upon following the writings of Ten Sikh Gurus. The site offers some bullet points as away of quickly synopsizing who the Sikhs are and what their beliefs entail:
- There is only One God. He is the same God for all people of all religions.
- The soul goes through cycles of births and deaths before it reaches the human form. The goal of our life is to lead an exemplary existence so that one may merge with God. Sikhs should remember God at all times and practice living a virtuous and truthful life while maintaining a balance between their spiritual obligations and temporal obligations.
- The true path to achieving salvation and merging with God does not require renunciation of the world or celibacy, but living the life of a householder, earning a honest living and avoiding worldly temptations and sins.
- Sikhism condemns blind rituals such as fasting, visiting places of pilgrimage, superstitions, worship of the dead, idol worship etc.
- Sikhism preaches that people of different races, religions, or sex are all equal in the eyes of God. It teaches the full equality of men and women. Women can participate in any religious function or perform any Sikh ceremony or lead the congregation in prayer.
Sikhs are often associated with wearing a turban, called a Dastar. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there were many reports of Sikhs being harassed because they were believed to be associated with radical Islam. This, of course, is completely false, as Sikhism is entirely separate from Islam, Judaism and Christianity. It is also the 5th largest religion in the world, and despite the large number of Sikhs all around the world, there is still a lot of anti-Islamic hostility targeted at members of this religion. DemocracyNow.com features a compelling video about how this prevalent form of bigotry (anti-Islamic sentiment) also affects Sikhs by association.
As of now, we do not know the motives of the shooter(s) in the Wisconsin temple, but will keep the survivors and victims, as well as their families and the Sikh community in our thoughts.