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Exclusive: Temple gunman's ex-girlfriend says don't focus on her

August 08, 2012|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Amy Hubbard
  • An undated handout photo of Misty Cook, former girlfriend of suspected Wisconsin Sikh temple shooter Wade Page. Photo from the Anti Defamation League.
An undated handout photo of Misty Cook, former girlfriend of suspected… (Anti-Defamation League…)

The former girlfriend of Sikh temple shooter Wade Michael Page said in an exclusive email to the Los Angeles Times that she wanted the "heroes" of the tragedy to be the focus of attention -- not her.

"I have given no official statement," Misty Cook told The Times early Wednesday morning before elaborating on the reaction to the tragedy. Cook was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Page, a discharged Army veteran and white-power advocate, had lived with Cook until just a few weeks before the deadly shootings. He used a legal 9-millimeter handgun and several magazines of ammunition to attack a suburban Wisconsin Sikh temple around 10:25 a.m. Sunday, killing six people and critically injuring three. Police have maintained that he acted alone.

PHOTOS: Gunman opened fire at Sikh temple

Among those injured was a police officer whom Page shot nine times while the officer tried to tend to a victim. Page died during the attack.

"For my part," Cook told The Times, "I hope the majority of focus will be on celebrating the lives of the heroes in this situation. I find the good work that Satwant Singh [Kaleka] did for his people and his heroic last act are far more newsworthy than anything I could say."

Kaleka, president of the Oak Creek, Wis., temple confronted gunman Page with a butter knife, keeping him away from Kaleka's wife and other temple followers.

GRAPHIC: Sikh temple victims remembered

Lt. Brian Murphy, who like Kaleka has been termed a hero for his actions during the rampage, was shot multiple times.

"He had been shot nine times — one of them very serious in the neck area — and he waved them [rescuers] off and told them to go into the temple to assist those" in the temple, said Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards at news conference.

In her email, Cook went on to say:

"The reaction of the Sikh community around the world has been admirable. Their advocation for education and understanding is something we should all try to emulate. The responding officers, especially Brian Murphy, are heroes in my book for preventing further bloodshed.

"A time of healing is needed for all affected by this tragedy, and I hope that people will look to supporting the victims and their families at this time."

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Cook shared her recent boyfriend's interest in the white-power movement and was active in at least two neo-Nazi organizations.

The ADL, which monitors hate groups, had information on Page and Cook going back several years, and ADL researchers said Page appeared to have moved to Wisconsin to be with her.

ALSO:

Wade Michael Page seemed normal, gun shop owner says

Sikh temple shooting puts focus on secretive white power music

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