- Associated Press - Monday, August 6, 2012

OAK CREEK, Wis. — Before he strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.

The bald, heavily tattooed bassist was a 40-year-old Army veteran who trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago.

A day after he killed six worshippers at the suburban Milwaukee temple, fragments of Page’s life emerged in public records and interviews. But his motive was still largely a mystery. He left no hate-filled manifesto, no angry blog or ranting Facebook entries to explain the attack.

Page, who was fatally shot by police, joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998. He was described Monday by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “frustrated neo-Nazi” who had long been active in the obscure underworld of white supremacist music.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Montgomery, Ala., group, said Page played in groups whose sometimes sinister-sounding names seemed to “reflect what he went out and actually did.” The music often talked about genocide against Jews and other minorities.

In a 2010 interview, Page told a white supremacist website that he became active in white-power music in 2000, when he left his native Colorado and started the band End Apathy in 2005.

He told the website his inspiration was “based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole,” according to the law center. He did not mention violence.

Page joined the military in Milwaukee in 1992 and was a repairman for the Hawk missile system before switching jobs to become one of the Army’s psychological operations specialists assigned to a battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C.

As a “psy-ops” specialist, Page would have trained to host public meetings between locals and American forces, use leaflet campaigns in a conflict zone or use loudspeakers to communicate with enemy soldiers. He was never deployed overseas while serving in that role, Pentagon spokesman George Wright said.

Page was demoted in June 1998 for getting drunk while on duty and going AWOL, two defense officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information about the gunman.

In Wisconsin, Page responded to a recent online ad seeking a roommate in Cudahy, a small city outside Milwaukee.

Kurt Weins, who placed the ad, said Page moved in June 23 with only a television set, telling him he had recently broken up with his girlfriend and needed a place to stay.

“We talked, but it was really about nothing,” Mr. Weins said. “He seemed pretty calm. He didn’t seem like the type to raise his voice.”

On July 15, Page moved to a duplex across the street. After the FBI searched that residence Sunday, Mr. Weins said he returned to the apartment and found only a computer desk, chair and an inflatable mattress.

Peter Hoyt, who lives about a block from Page’s last apartment, said he spoke with Page about a dozen times. Mr. Hoyt remembered Page having a “9/11” tattoo on his arm, but could not describe it.

“I never heard the guy … say anything negative,” Mr. Hoyt said. “When I found out it was him, I was awed. I can’t believe it was him.”

Online records show Page had a brief criminal history in other states, including pleading guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief after a 1994 arrest in El Paso, Texas. He received six months’ probation. Suburban Milwaukee police had no contact with Page before Sunday.

The FBI was leading the investigation because the shooting was considered domestic terrorism. The agency said it had no reason to believe anyone other than Page was involved.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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