A sociologist who had earlier interacted with the gunman who killed six Sikhs at a gurdwara here, said that he was a neo-Nazi whose primary target were blacks and Jews but had never mentioned Sikhs in the same vein.
For nearly two years, Pete Simi, a sociologist doing field-work on hate groups, hung out with the 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, the army veteran who gunned down six Sikhs at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin Aug. 5.
Simi, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said he felt sick to his stomach when he learned that it was Page who murdered six people before being shot to death by police.
Simi said his recollection was that Page never mentioned Sikhs. Page was a person who hated blacks and was anti-Semitic. "Blacks and Jews," Simi said. "Those were the primary targets of his rhetoric."
After 9/11, Simi said Page sent him an e-mail in which he expressed a lot of anger about Muslims.
"He said something like, ‘America should just plaster all of the Middle East’,” Simi was quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as saying.
Simi said Page hung out with people who were members of well-known hate groups, including Volksfront and Hammerskins. There were even people who still called themselves members of the White Aryan Resistance, a well-known hate group.
Page drank heavily, Simi said, but never used drugs.
Meanwhile, Page’s family has expressed regret over his actions and said they shared the grief of the victims and their kin. The family has said they would cooperate in the investigation but requested for their privacy to be respected.