L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Sikh temple gunman had neo-Nazi past in Orange County

August 9, 2012 |  7:55 am

Wade Michael Page, the gunman in a deadly shooting spree at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, had spent several years in Orange County, first drawn to the area in 2001 by its white power music scene, according to a scholar who knew him at the time.

Page lived in Old Towne Orange from 2001 to 2004, according to Pete Simi, then a graduate student who spent time with Page as part of his research into white supremacist groups. Simi said Page lived with a housemate who shared his white supremacist views and played in a local white power band, while also working sporadically as a machinist.

Now a criminologist at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Simi said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that his dissertation took him into bars filled with neo-Nazis, where he frequently felt frightened.

PHOTOS: Gunman opens fire at Sikh temple

But not by Page. "When I was with him individually, I felt pretty comfortable," Simi said.

Page kept rifles in his bedroom but expressed no animus toward Sikhs, he said. Nor did Page give any impression that he could become a mass killer.

"I never said, 'This is the guy,' " Simi said.

Page did, however, display vivid signs of the racist worldview Simi was studying. As they headed to lunch at a favorite pizza parlor in Old Town Orange during the holiday season, Page froze at the sight of a stained-glass menorah on the door.

"He freaked out. He said, 'I'm not going in there; I'm not going to open the door,' " Simi said.

"I said, 'What if I hold the door open for you? Will you walk through so I can eat some pizza?' He was willing to do that," Simi recalled. "It's the principle that anything Jewish is contamination." And yet, he said, "He'd eat the pizza made there."

ALSO:

Heat, humidity will continue to blister SoCal

Anaheim City Council votes down district election proposal

More chalk protests planned for downtown Art Walk: L.A. Now Live

-- Christopher Goffard and Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Comments 

Advertisement










Video