RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The suspect in a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, was reportedly performing in a white-power concert here in the Richmond area five months ago.
A number of internet blogs and other sources put former army soldier Wade Michael Page here in Richmond this past St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. He was promoting a white supremacist gathering and performing with a band that promotes “white power.”
In Wisconsin, police said Page killed six people at the temple south of Milwaukee Sunday. He critically wounded three others, including a police officer.
We spoke with Mark Pitcavage, a researcher at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York. He said his organization keeps tabs on people like Page who they consider dangerous.
The ADL is now calling for the shooting spree to be investigated as a potential hate crime because page was the leader of End Apathy, a white-power rock band affiliated with the Hammerskins, a hardcore racist skinhead group with a history of violence and hate crimes.
We also followed a trail of internet forum conversations and promotions for a concert and gathering in Richmond promoted by the Hammerskins.
From what we can get from the forum conversations, the gathering was somewhere near the intersection of Willis Road and I-95 on the Richmond/Chesterfield county border.
Pitcavage said there’s a good chance Page was there with his other band Definite Hate. Pitcavage also said Richmond does not appear to be a hotbed of hate, and there should not be too much concern that hate groups are recruiting more members here.
“The concerts are not usually places where they get recruits” Pitcavage said. “The concerts are more of a place for people already in the movement, to get together, drink Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, fight, listen to music, that sort of stuff.”
The music studio Label 56 promoted some of Page’s songs, but has since removed them from its website and posted a message saying the company was “sorry to hear about the tragedy in Wisconsin, and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected”.
The message goes on to say, “Please do not think we are all like that”.
CBS 6’s Catie Beck is digging into Page’s visits to Richmond and finding out more about local hate groups.
You can see her reports starting today on CBS 6 News at 5:00.