Thousands of mourners are expected to pay their final respects Friday to the six worshippers that were gunned down by a white supremacist at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last weekend.
Expected to attend are U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and U.S. Representative Paul Ryan. Organizers initially allocated two hours for a wake and visitation at a nearby high school, but they extended that by two more hours to accommodate mourners who traveled from abroad and for Holder as a last-minute speaker, according to the Associated Press.
After the service, the mourners will return to the Sikh temple where the shootings took place. There, a series of priests will read the Sikh Holy Book from cover to cover as part of the traditional rite of honoring the dead. The process takes 48 hours.
Harpreet Singh, a nephew of one of the victims, says:
“We want to pay homage to the spirits who are still in there.”
Federal investigators may never know what caused Wade Michael Page, 40, to attack total strangers in a holy place. As of now, all they know is that the Army veteran opened fire with a 9mm pistol shortly before Sunday services began.
Page killed five men and one woman, and injured two other men. Authorities say he then bombarded the first police officer who responded, shooting him nine times and leaving him in critical condition. A second officer then shot Page in the stomach from about 75 feet away before Page took his own life with a shot to the head.
Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, the officer who was injured, is considered to be in satisfactory condition.