On Nov. 21, 2004, 35-year-old Hmong immigrant Chai Soua Vang shot eight people, killing six, while hunting in northern Wisconsin. Vang blamed racist remarks made by the victims for inciting the violence in this incident.
And, while not the first race-related shooting in the state, the Oak Creek shooting is also not the first Wisconsin shooting to take place in a house of worship. Seven people were killed, and four were injured on March 12, 2005 when 44-year-old computer technician Terry Michael Ratzmann entered a Living Church of God service at the Sheraton Hotel in Brookfield and opened fire.
Two additional mass shootings, both in 2007, were domestic incidents in which the suspects took the lives of an estranged spouse in one case and an ex-girlfriend in the other. In a June 9, 2007 incident, Ambrosio Analco took the lives of his twin sons in addition to that of his wife, the wife's sister, and a friend before killing himself. On Oct. 7, 2007, Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Tyler James Peterson, age 20, killed six and wounded one at the home of his ex-girlfriend before turning the gun on himself.
In total, Sunday's shooting brings the Wisconsin mass murder count to five since 2004. The Oak Creek shooting follows on the heels of another mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, leaving many Americans wondering, "what next?"
Sikh communities across the country are now on guard, watching for potential copycat attacks on the peace-loving religion. Despite the recent attack, many in the community plan to continue their tradition of offering an "open-door" to their temples, maintaining a place of refuge to people of all races and faiths.
The city of Oak Creek has scheduled a community-wide vigil at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday for the victims of Sunday's killings. The event will take place at the Oak Creek Community Center, located at 8580 S. Howell Ave.