Police SWAT teams escorted uninjured worshipers from a Milwaukee, WI, area Sikh Temple Sunday afternoon following an incident when at least four people were shot prior to the scheduled 11:30 AM service. More than a dozen ambulances were also on the scene Sunday afternoon.
According to local news reports as many as seven people may have been killed in the incident that also injured others. A gunman is amongst the dead.
Three adult males were in critical condition at at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa according to Dick Katschke, a spokesman for the Medical College of Wisconsin.
The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin is located in Oak Creek, a city just south of Milwaukee. According to the temple's Website, at least 350 people are members of the congregation.
Ven Boba Ri, a member of the temple's governing board, said he understood the assailant was a white male thought to be in his 30's who is not a member of the congregation. Ri called the incident a "hate crime," and said the shooter first approached a priest outside the temple, shot him and then went inside and shot others.
One of the first police officers to respond to the scene was shot several times according to Bradley Wentlandt, Greeenfield Police Chief. The officer is expected to survive.
Local police are being assisted by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is made up of representatives of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies was on the scene early Sunday afternoon.
Area law enforcement officials met with the religious leaders last summer to discuss public safety issues following robberies and vandalism directed at residents and businesses in the local Sikh community. About 3,000 Sikh families live in southeastern Wisconsin.
When the Oak Creek shootings were reported, local police were also dispatched to another Sikh temple in Brookfield, WI, as a precaution.
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