There are many details that came out overnight about the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, but the one that may be the most upsetting is the report of the Sikh temple leader who died while trying to defend his congregation. Satwant Singh Kaleka, the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, used a dull blade—The Associated Press' Scott Bauer described it as a "simple butter knife" while Agence France-Presse's called it a "blunt ceremonial knife"—to fight off the gunman, identified as Wade Page. Kaleka tried to stab Page, facing him down before Page shot him, fatally, twice in the leg. "Whatever time he spent in that struggle gave the women time to get cover," Kaleka's son, Amardeep Singh Kaleka (pictured above), told The AP's Bauer. It also allowed Amardeep's mother to call 911.
The story of Kaleka's heroism, and that of the officers who responded to the 911 call (the first on the scene, Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, told officers to help those inside, even though he'd been shot nine times), comes amid the far more depressing detail that Page used the same kind of gun, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, that James Holmes allegedly used in Aurora, Colorado, and Jared Loughner allegedly used in Tuscon, Arizona in 2010, Reuters' Greg McCune reports. "Semiautomatic handguns are the weapon of choice for mass murderers because they are light and easy to conceal, and adaptable to using high-capacity magazines, experts say." Meanwhile, Page's stepmother, who lives in Denver, described him to the Denver Post's Kieran Nicholson, Ryan Parker and Nancy Lofholm as a "soft-spoken, gentle person." Clearly, things change.
Update (10:31 a.m. EDT): The Washington Post just published a story with some of the most intimate reporting we've seen on Page yet, including how he was discharged from the Army for showing up to formation drunk, and fired from his job as a truck driver after he was pulled over driving drunk.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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