October 21, 2014

Warnings before temple tragedy

There were many red flags surrounding the Oak Creek shooter.

Wade Michael Page is linked to white power; neo-Nazi hate music; and racial cleansing, yet nobody could do anything to prevent the massacre at a house of worship. The attacker was able to shoot and kill six people and injure several others at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek on Sunday.

Teresa Carlson is an FBI Special Agent in Charge. “This is an issue where law enforcement has to continually balance the civil liberties — the rights that every U.S. citizen has — to think what they want, believe what they want, and say what they want. Obviously we cannot investigate people for any of those things.”

Wade had also been demoted and later discharged from the U.S. Army for questionable behavior. He was on the radar of civil rights groups and others because of public ties to white supremacy organizations.

If there are obvious signs of a potential violent act, is that reason enough for authorities to respond? U.S. Attorney James Santelle says it’s a fine line; there is no precise standard. “There is nothing that I can articulate for you, in terms of mathematical precision, other than to say that as a result of a variety of aspects and pieces that are put together, and is premised upon the analysis based upon experience, evidence, and the law … do we make determinations about who is going to be charged and who isn’t.”

The FBI reiterated on Wednesday that Page acted alone in the shootings, and there was no specific motive. Carlson says Page died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head after a police officer shot him in the abdomen. The FBI says the incident in southeastern Wisconsin is still being considered an act of domestic terrorism.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:44