The son and niece of Satwant Kaleka, president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, tell NBC Chicago's Lauren Petty Kaleka died trying to stop the man who opened fire Sunday on the temple.
The president of a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee died trying to stop the gunman who killed six and wounded three during a Sunday rampage, authorities said.
Satwant Kaleka, president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wis., tried grabbing the suspect to try and stop the gunfire when a man entered the temple around 10:30 a.m., family members told NBC Chicago.
"The FBI told me specifically, 'Your father must have been a hero because he at least slowed him down in order for people to get to safety,'" Kaleka's son, Amardeep Kaleka, said.
Amardeep Kaleka said a blood trail was found leading from the gun battle in the lobby where police said his father may have tried to stab at the gunman or grab and stop him in some way. Kaleka was shot twice and killed.
"Families are affected," Kaleka's niece, Simran Kaleka, told NBC Chicago. "Someone lost a mother, someone lost a child, and we lost a great man, my uncle. Most of my family is in denial, they can't believe it."
Simran said she just wants to know why it all happened. She said she heard reports of the gunman having a 9/11 tattoo and doesn't know whether he mistook the Sikh religion for an Islamic religion.
Amardeep Kaleka said there's some confusion about the religion, starting with the group's cultural identity.
"People need to know that Sikhs have a certain general cultural identity," he said. "People need to know a little bit about us. If you're going to create this decisive of a decision as a human being to take another person's life, go get your research, go get the information you need to make that decision."
Officials on Monday identified the gunman suspected of killing six people inside a Sikh temple in Wisconsin as 40-year-old Wade Michael Page.
Authorities told NBC News Wade is an Army veteran who purchased the pistol he allegedly used in the attack near his home within the past 10 days. Three others were critically wounded in the attack.
Page was described as a white man in his 40s with a military background and a lot of tattoos. The man may originally be from Chicago, according to the man's landlord, who said the FBI is investigating the shooting rampage as an act of domestic terrorism.
Page was said to be wearing some sort of tactical-type pants but no bulletproof vest or protective gear. Police said he shot and killed six people and wounded three others before he was killed by police.
Authorities went to the suspect's home in nearby Cuduhy, Wis., and evacuated several blocks of nearby homes while they searched for about nine hours looking for clues.
The search ended around 1 a.m. Monday.
"We were so scared," said temple board member Inderjaat Singh Dhillon. "I just thank God we're alive."