Two others, a civilian and a police officer, were injured and were being treated at a local hospital. At least one suspected shooter is among the dead, Greenfield, Wis., Police Chief Brad Wentlandt said today.
Police are still trying to determine if there was another shooter involved in the attack, during which at least one gunman walked into the temple around 10:25 a.m. and opened fire. Wentlandt said the calls reporting different shooters may be separate reports of the same gunman.
“They went to church, not knowing that they might die today,” said Simran Kaleka, whose family was in the temple, according to ABC News Radio. “I don’t know how sick you have to be to do that, and I don’t know if it was directed toward the Sikh culture and them having turbans and having beards, but ignorance is not going to get us anywhere.”
The first police officer to arrive on scene after a flurry of 911 calls exchanged gunfire with the shooter, receiving multiple gunshot wounds in the process. He was rushed into surgery at Froedtert Hospital, the main trauma center in the Milwaukee region, Wentlandt said.
“An officer arrived and engaged a suspect. That officer was shot multiple times. He is expected to survive,” Wentlandt told the news media.
The gunman, he said, “is down on the scene and is presumed deceased.”
Four others were found dead inside the temple, while three people, including the shooter, were found dead outside the building.
Police are still performing tactical searches of the building to ensure that they have evacuated all of the injured people and cleared the building of any additional shooters.
“We believe we have the situation contained here” at the temple,” Wentlandt said. “We do not know if there are other shooters at the scene.”
He asked media outlets to stop broadcasting aerial footage from helicopters on television because of tactical operations at the scene.
Among those shot was the president of the temple, Satwant Singh Kaleka, who recently hosted a state representative and the county district attorney to discuss a recent rise in violence against area Sikhs at their stores and businesses, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
On Sundays, Sikh temples, called gurudwaras, serve a community meal at which anyone is welcome as part of their community service. The meal, known as a langar, follows the morning services.
The Sikh religion originated in the Punjab region of India.
“Every single member of my family was inside that church,” Simran Kaleka said. “No matter who is shot and killed in there, it’s going to affect all of us out here because a lot of people are related here. And it’s just, for me, my life flashed before my eyes because it’s my whole family.”
According to information broadcast over police radio, a witness to the shooting told law enforcement the shooter was a white male, bald, with a heavy build. He was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, according to Oak Creek Patch. He was last seen with two handguns.
A spokeswoman for Froedtert Hospital said that three men were taken there and the hospital was ready to receive more, according to the Associated Press.
Federal agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau were sent to the scene of the shooting, two government officials told ABC News.
There were more than a dozen ambulances parked outside the temple, and police moved media and a handful of bystanders to an area near the temple.
Amardeep Kaleka, a member of the temple, told ABC affiliate WISN his father was inside during the shooting and his mother was hiding inside, believing the gunman was still inside. Kaleka said that a priest called for emergency help after the shooting.