OAK CREEK, Wis. — Thousands of mourners are expected to pay their final respects Friday to six worshippers gunned down by a white supremacist at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee over the weekend.
Organizers initially allocated two hours for a wake and visitation at a nearby high school, but they extended that by two hours to accommodate mourners who traveled from abroad and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as a last-minute speaker. Other dignitaries expected to attend the funeral include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.
The service will include prayers and hymns.
Afterward, mourners plan to return to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where the shootings took place Sunday morning. There a series of priests will read the Sikh holy book from cover to cover in a traditional rite honoring the dead called “Akhand Path.” That process takes 48 hours.
“We want to pay homage to the spirits who are still in there,” said Harpreet Singh, a nephew of one of the victims.
Federal investigators might never know for certain why 40-year-old Wade Michael Page chose to attack total strangers in a holy place. What they know is that the Army veteran opened fire with a 9 mm pistol at the temple, shortly before Sunday services were due to begin.
Page killed five men and one woman, and injured two other men.