NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Local Sikh and interfaith organizations are coming together to remember the six people killed in the Wisconsin temple massacre last weekend.
The Manhattan Sikh Association will lead a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Union Square Park to honor those who were shot dead in Oak Creek, at the hands of alleged shooter Wade Michael Page.
The vigil is meant to be “part of a nationwide coordinated remembrance for the victims and their families.”
Page, 40, was identified as an ex-Army soldier and former leader of a white supremacist heavy metal band. Authorities said Page strode into the Gurudwara on Sunday and opened fire without saying a word.
The U.S. Army said Page enlisted in 1992 and was discharged in 1998. He served at Fort Bliss in Psychological Operations. When he left the military, he was declared ineligible to re-enlist.
On Tuesday, Page’s stepmother, Laurie Page, spoke about the shooting rampage and about her stepson, who she said “was gentle and kind and loving.”
“And what happened? God only knows, because I don’t,” said Laurie Page, who was a part of her stepson’s life for 20 years. “I’m totally devastated. His father is devastated. We’re pretty much in shock.”
“The last time I saw Wade was at Christmas time 1999 and one of his comments was the best thing that he ever did was join the military. In my heart of hearts, I can’t say that’s probably the best thing that he ever did,” Laurie Page said.
She said she has a “gut feeling” her stepson’s possible links to white supremacist groups happened while in the military.
“But I will never know that,” she added.
The Oak Creek temple remains blocked off as federal investigators gather evidence, but, police caution they may never determine a motive.
Police said Page used a handgun to shoot and kill six people and critically wound three others including Brooklyn-born police Lt. Brian Murphy, who was shot nine times.
A funeral for all of the victims is planned for Friday morning.