Michelle Obama to meet families of Sikh gurdwara shooting victims

WASHINGTON | Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:06pm EDT

(Reuters) – First lady Michelle Obama on Thursday will meet with families of victims of the shooting rampage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin earlier this month, a White House aide said on Saturday.

Six people were killed and four others, including a police officer, were injured on August 5 when Wade Michael Page, an Army veteran with links to racist groups, gunned them down and then killed himself.

Obama will go to Milwaukee to meet with immediate family members of those who were killed and injured, the aide said on condition of anonymity. Investigators have not determined why Page targeted the Sikh temple.

Rajwant Singh, the chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, based in Washington, said it was critical that U.S. leaders reach out to the Sikh families in Wisconsin and to the Sikh community.

“A visit by the first lady will be reassuring and heartening and it will be a powerful symbol of President Obama embracing the Sikhs at this serious juncture,” he said in an emailed statement.

President Barack Obama has called for an end to “senseless violence” in the wake of the shootings at the temple and a July 20 massacre at a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people.

But he has been careful not to take a controversial stand on gun control in the run-up to the November 6 presidential election.

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Paul Simao and Cynthia Osterman)

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