An undated handout photo provided by the Anti-Defamation League shows… (Anti-Defamation League…)
SOUTH MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- South Milwaukee police have arrested the former girlfriend of Wisconsin gunman Wade Page after an unauthorized gun was found in the home she once shared with him, authorities confirmed Tuesday.
Misty Cook, a 31-year-old waitress and nursing student with reported ties to white supremacist organizations, was taken into custody in the wake of the shootings at a nearby Sikh temple that left six people dead. Page, who was shot dead by police at the scene, had lived with Cook until moving to a separate residence a few weeks before the shootings.
Police said Cook was arrested in a joint investigation with the FBI on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm. They said criminal charges would be sought through the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office.
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Though police would not discuss Cook’s criminal record, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, citing court records, reported that Cook was convicted in 2005 of fleeing and eluding police in Milwaukee County. She was sentenced to 18 months probation and served 97 days in jail.
A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, asked about reports of a gun found in Cook’s home, confirmed that the agency was asked by the local police to perform a trace on such a firearm.
“The South Milwaukee Police Department requested from ATF a trace of a firearm that was found to be in her possession,” spokesman Thomas Ahern told the Los Angeles Times. “We provided [the Police Department] with the history of that firearm, and it’s up to [the department] whether or not to share that information with the public.”
Cook shared Page’s interest in the white-power movement and was active in at least two neo-Nazi organizations, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate groups and had information on both Page and Cook from its files dating back several years.
Police, citing the ongoing investigation by the FBI, said they would not release further details about the weapon.
Terry Page, the apartment building resident who lives downstairs from Cook but says he was not related to Wade Page, said police found a gun when they searched the residence on the day of the temple shootings.
Page said he didn't know the gunman or Cook well, but that Wade Page had lived with Cook and her 5-year-old autistic son in the upstairs apartment since March 1. In the middle of June, he said, Wade Page hauled his things out in a few garbage bags, and Cook signaled that the couple had broken up. Cook left the apartment with her father several days ago.
Terry Page identified Cook in a photo provided by the Anti-Defamation League, which said that Cook had been an active member of the white-power group Volksfront during 2007 and 2008. Cook is wearing a Volksfront T-shirt in the photo.
“She was part of Volksfront. She had a longtime affiliation with that group. She attended their meetings, and she was an active member,” said Jenna Benn, assistant director of the ADL in Chicago.
Benn said Cook also was active in Crew 38, the women's arm of another neo-Nazi group with which Page had been involved, Hammerskin Nation, and wrote postings for the Hammerskins’ website.
"We've been monitoring him for the last seven years; we've been tracking his whereabouts, and he definitely followed her to the Milwaukee area," Benn told The Times.
Prior to Page’s departure, the couple “seemed to get along, no fights," said Terry Page's wife, Sharon, speaking in the shady yard outside the old-fashioned, two-story house on a quiet residential street.
Terry Page said the couple were quiet, only once playing heavy rock music so loud he had to bang on the ceiling with a broomstick. Wade Page, like him, worked a graveyard shift, and the two would often meet in the driveway just before 11 p.m. on their way to work.
Page said he recognized white-power tattoos on Wade Page's arms and guessed he might have had neo-Nazi leanings, though the two never discussed it.
"It seemed like he never missed work; left every day," he said.
Wade Page and Cook often on weekends would go away for what the neighbors took to be rock concerts: Wade Page would be carrying musical instrument boxes. Only after the shootings did they learn he had been a member of a white-power rock band.
Terry and Sharon Page learned of the shootings when FBI agents showed up at their door the same day.
"The FBI pounded on the door. They had the foot in the door as soon as I opened it," Terry Page said. "They go, 'What's your name?' I go, 'Page.' " He cringed.
"They were in the house about five hours. They went through everything."