Four of the dead were inside the temple at 7512 S. Howell Ave. and three of the dead, including a shooter, were outside the temple.
A police SWAT team entered the building before noon and brought uninjured people out of the building at 7512 S. Howell Ave.
They started removing injured people from the temple’s prayer room.
SWAT team members were still sweeping the building about 1 p.m. and an explosion was heard from the building at that time. It was unclear what the explosion was.
About six gunshots were heard at 2:30 p.m. in the area. The shots appeared to be coming from the temple.
The first officer on the scene Sunday morning encountered an active shooter and exchanged fire with him, according to Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt who briefed media on the scene.
The shooter went down and is believed to be dead, said Wentlandt. He said authorities had no evidence of a second shooter.
Wentlandt said the officer was hit multiple times, but is expected to survive. He said the officer was a 20-year veteran and “an extremely accomplished tactical officer.” He was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa where he was in surgery just before 2 p.m.
White House officials said President Barack Obama was notified of the shootings shortly before 1 p.m. by John Brennan, his Homeland Security adviser. The president continues to receive updates.
Among those who were shot was the president of the temple, Satwant Kaleka, who was taken to Froedtert Hospital.
Gurmit Kaleka, a nephew of Satwant, was at the hospital and said he was in surgery. He said Satwant is 65 years old. He is married with two grown sons. One is a former MPD officer. Satwant has been president of the church since about 1996. He has never felt threatened or unsafe in any way.
Deepinder Dhaliwal said Kaleka, his brother in law, was shot in the back.
Dhaliwal said his sister, the president’s wife, called him while hiding inside the building with a few other women.
Darshan Dhaliwal, who identified himself as a leader at the temple, said between 20 and 25 women who were cooking a lunch in the basement for after the service and between five to 10 children had been able to leave the temple at about 1 p.m. Dhaliwal said they heard the gunshots and hid in closets for more than an hour before escaping. Dhaliwal said the temple had not been the subject of any threats or graffiti recently.
“This is insanity,” he said.
Dick Katschke, a spokesman for the Medical College of Wisconsin, said three adult males were being treated at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa. One of the three was undergoing surgery in the intensive care ward. Another is in an operating room. And the third is being treated in the emergency room, Katschke said.
All three were being treated for gunshot wounds. All are in critical condition, according to Froedtert.
People were in the temple as early as 6:30 a.m. Sunday and many more were arriving for a service that was to begin about 11:30 a.m.
There were reports that children were taken away from the area of the building where the shooting took place after shots were fired.
Someone who sent a text message to a Journal Sentinel reporter shortly before noon said that there were two shooters with children possibly as hostages.
And the head priest was locked inside a restroom with a cell phone and that there were as many as 20 to 30 victims.
One of the temple’s committee members, Ven Boba Ri, said that based on communication with people inside the temple, the shooter was a white male in his 30s.
“We have no idea,” he said of the motive. “It’s pretty much a hate crime. It’s not an insider.”
According to Ri, the man started shooting after he walked up to a priest who was standing outside, and shot him.
Then he went inside and started shooting.
People inside the temple were using cell phones to call people outside, saying please send help, Ri said.
“It’s sad, I don’t know how to describe it,” said Ri, who has been fielding calls all morning from around the world, including India.
“Sikhism is such a peaceful religion. We have suffered for generations, in India and even here.”
“We’re all the same,” said temple member Jaswinder Schandock. “Everybody has the same blood.”
Groups of temple members were gathered, on cell phones, conferring in small groups and watching from afar. A member of the Sikh Temple in Brookfield said three of those who were killed are priests.
The Green Star and New Resistance sends our prayers and voices our solidarity with the Sikh community at this trying hour.