Nightly News | August 06, 2012
>>> good evening from london. once again we begin in the u.s. in suburban milwaukee. shaken by a horrible outbreak of violence, another mass shooting. this time inside a sikh temple . tonight stories are emerging about the loss of life there, heroic acts of ordinary citizens, and about the man accused in the terrible attack, who he was and what the possible motive was in this shooting that investigators are still treating as a possible act of domestic terrorism as they put it. we have all of it covered tonight beginning with nbc's john yang at the scene in oak creek , wisconsin . john, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. a little more than 24 hours after the shots rang out in the sikh temple here investigators still have more questions than answers. they search for a motive. one thing we do know, there were heroic acts that kept the bloodshed from being even worse. a solemn calm returned to this milwaukee suburb today -- flags lowered to half staff to honor the five men and one woman killed at the sikh temple of wisconsin .
>> squad, i'm taking a report of an altercation, sikh temple .
>> reporter: barely 24 hours earlier that place of worship was the setting for chaos and terrible carnage.
>> ambulance up! subject down! officer down! bring the ambulance.
>> we have one officer shot.
>> responding to 911 calls, 21-year police veteran lieutenant brian murphy was shot eight to nine times at close range as he helped a victim. he urged his colleagues to help other victims before helping him. he's listed in critical condition but is expected to survive.
>> in my mind they're all heroes. they did exactly what was expected of them. they're senior officers.
>> reporter: the gunman is identified as 40-year-old wade michael page . he had been kicked out of the army and reportedly had ties to the white supremacist movement. when he entered the temple women were in the temple preparing food, priests were in the offices preparing for services with the temple president sarwant kaleka. his son said this cell phone rang and his father's number popped up but it was a priest.
>> i said how badly is he wounded? he said somewhere in the back.
>> reporter: officials told him his father died confronting the gunman with a knife.
>> the fbi agent told me specifically your father was a hero. had he not slowed him down how many more people would have lost their lives?
>> reporter: there are about 300,000 sikhs living and worshiping in the united states . since 9/11 a watch dog group reports 700 sikhs targeted at random by those who mistakenly believe they are muslims. they say their religion teaches equality, harmony, and inclusion.
>> sikhs believe in peace and harmo harmony. as a tradition sikhs do not cut their beards and wear turbans.
>> reporter: the religious name comes from sanskrit meaning learning and today the faithful say they are learning the hardest lesson possible. john yang , nbc news, oak creek , wisconsin .