NEW YORK: Wade Michael Page, the 40-year-old white supremacist who killed six people at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday, called non-whites `dirt people’ and urged white friends to “ secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’’
This is the broad profile of the hate-filled army veteran to emerge after talks to various people in his life.
The killer, who lived not far from the Sikh temple where he went on the rampage on Sunday to leave six people dead and die himself, was “creepy quiet” neighbor to psychiatric nurse Jennifer Dunn, who moved into her Cudahy building three weeks ago, toting his belongings in two black plastic garbage bags, reports Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
The nurse says the killer rarely left his one-bedroom upper, where he lived alone. His only visitor was a pizza delivery guy who stopped by a couple of times.
“He made no eye contact. That’s an abnormal thing. He wasn’t rude, but he was not wanting to be engaged.”
She says Page had numerous tattoos, including one making obscure reference to white supremacist doctrine, and his manner was strange.
He would often blast aggressive music from his stereo, said Dunn, who lives downstairs with her two daughters.
“He really had the tunes cranked up.’’
Just a day before he went on the shooting spree, Page carried “two bags full of crap” to his red SUV parked in the alley. He also carried out a large cardboard box, the nurse said.
“He paced around the truck for about 10 minutes’’ and then sat behind the wheel for a long time “staring off into space,’’ the paper quoted Dunn as saying.
The nurse said that even one of her daughters told her that “the dude is acting strange.’’
But Page’s stepmother Laura Page, who lives in Denver, Colo., told the media that he grew up as a “precious child” in a normal, loving family.
“Where he changed and where this came from, we have no idea,’’ said Laura Page, who was married to the killer’s father for about two decades.
She said Page was 10 when she married his father after his birth mother died from lupus.
Like any child losing a parent, “he was devastated,” Laura Page said.
Yet, she said, her stepson was mostly happy and liked to do “normal little boy stuff” – play with his dog, fish, camp. He loved music and played his guitar often, the paper quoted her as saying.
“He was kind and gentle and loving. He was normal in every way that I can think of.”
She said she and Page’s father moved to Texas when the boy was a teenager, but he stayed in Colorado, splitting time between an aunt and his grandmother, with whom he was very close.
She said Page rejoined them in Texas after graduating from high school, took a job at a convenience store and eventually joined the Army.
“He said it was one of the best things he ever did – it gave him focus, a direction,” Laura Page said.
Page served the army from 1992 to 1998, and was assigned to psychological operations – the specialists who analyze, develop and distribute intelligence used for information and psychological effect.
But Page’s beliefs were starting to show, according to the newspaper.
Fred Allen Lucas, who served with Page at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in a psychological operations battalion, recalled that the killer spoke of the need for securing a homeland for white people and referred to all non-whites as “dirt people.”
“It didn’t matter if they were black, Indian, Native American, Latin – he hated them all,” Lucas said.
Lucas said he met Page in 1995, the same year that the killings of a black couple in Fayetteville by two members of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg revealed the presence of a white-supremacist movement among soldiers on the base.
At the time, Lucas said, Page was covered with tattoos, including one that made a reference to the “14 words,” a phrase used by white supremacists: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
“He criticized me for my attraction to (Latina) women,” Lucas said. “He’d call me a ‘race-traitor.’ He said I should change my ways because I was a blond-haired, blue-eyed white guy, and I shouldn’t be wasting myself on that.”
Page left the Army in 1998 with a general discharge, a cut below honorable. He was ineligible for re-enlistment.
By 2000, he was circulating in what the Southern Poverty Law Center called the white-power music scene.
The center said Page was a member of two racist skinhead bands — End Apathy and Definite Hate.
In fact, End Apathy was Page’s project, started in 2005.
In the interview two years ago with a website, he said he launched the band “to figure out what it would take to actually accomplish positive results in society and what is holding us back.
“A lot of what I realized at the time was that if we could figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways it would be the start toward moving forward,” Page is quoted as saying. “Of course after that it requires discipline, strict discipline, to stay the course in our sick society.”
Photos on the band’s MySpace page, which was taken down Monday, show Page playing a guitar with a stars-and-bars strap, and the “14” tattoo prominent on his shoulder.
In a picture of a band practice, a Nazi flag hangs behind the drummer.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said that in 2010 Page played at a racist music festival in Baltimore called Independent Artist Uprise.
For part of the last decade, Page lived in North Carolina where he worked at a Harley-Davidson dealership as a parts coordinator, but was fired after a series of clashes – one involving his displeasure at taking orders from a female co-worker.
The dealership general manager John Tew was quoted as saying that after Page was fired, he found an application for joining the Ku Klux Klan on Page’s desk.
“I threw that in the trash can.He came back looking for it. And I told him I discarded that. He got all chapped again,’’ Tew was quoted as saying.
In 2005, he loved to Wisconsin where he worked as a truck driver for about five years before he was dismissed from that job in 2010.
Last year, he lost a house, too. He had purchased a $165,000 home in the Fayetteville, N.C., area in September 2009, using a Veterans Administration loan, the newspaper said. ast August, with the house already vacant, Wells Fargo foreclosed. The bank took over the property in February.
In 2011, he moved into a South Milwaukee apartment to join his girlfriend, who had been living there for about two years.
Neighbors described him as a grumpy loner who occasionally pumped high-volume music through the building, worked third shift at a south side factory and disappeared on weekends, with a couple of guitars and his girlfriend in tow to play gigs with his band, according to the newspaper.
“If you were lucky, he would just say ‘hi,’ otherwise he would just shrug,” said Dave Brown, who lived downstairs.
Page stayed in South Milwaukee only for a few months, moving out in June and getting his own place in Cudahy from where he came on Sunday to the Sikh temple to create mayhem and die.