Oak Creek shooting
FBI asked to keep data on anti-Sikh hate crimes
WASHINGTON- The son of a massacre victim at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek is asking the federal government to begin collecting statistics on hate crimes against Sikhs.
The 18-year-old Harpreet Sing Saini urged senators at a hearing Wednesday to give his late mother the dignity of being a statistic.
"The FBI does not track hate crimes against Sikhs," said Saini. "My mother and those shot that day will not even count on a federal form. We cannot solve a problem we refuse to recognize."
Saini's mother, Paramjit Kaur Saini, was among six people killed and four wounded by a gunman on Aug. 5 before a service was to begin.
The shooter, Wade Michael Page, was shot during a firefight with police and died after he shot himself in the head.
"I want to tell the gunman who took her from me: You may have been full of hate, but my mother was full of love," said Harpreet Sing Saini. "She was an American. And this was not our American dream."
In front of the same panel, a top FBI counterterrorism official explained what the bureau knew about temple gunman Wade Page before the shooting.
"We were aware of him as a peripheral figure, but he never emerged as more than that," said Michael Clancy, Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division. "We never had any information on him pertaining to violent acts against anybody."
A Justice Department official says the agency will bring together an array of religious groups in October and make recommendations to the FBI afterward on collecting the information.
TODAY'S TMJ4's Tom Murray: "Should there be government oversight in place to stop people like Wade Page, the temple gunman, before something like this happens?"
U.S Senator Herb Kohl: "In a perfect world, yes. But, in the real world we live in, random violence occurs."
More than 400 people attended the hearing.