Return to Transcripts main page
CNN BREAKING NEWS
Shooting Rampage in Sikh Temple; Understanding the Sikh Community
Aired August 5, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Don Lemon.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Rob Marciano. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Our coverage of the Breaking News out of southern Wisconsin continues.
LEMON: Yes, as a matter of fact we're continuing to follow this Breaking News right now from a suburb in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And I want to fill you in right now on what we know. And here is what we do know. Seven people are dead. At a house of worship, a temple called gurdwara (ph) used by the Sikh community in the city of Oak Creek. Six of them were shot dead by a gunman who opened fire during a religious service inside.
The gunman, according to police, also dead shot by a responding police officer; that police officer was wounded. Two other people are also wounded here. Police in Oak Creek talked to reporters just a few minutes ago. They didn't have much more information except to say that they are treating the shooting -- as a quote "domestic terrorist type incident".
They're also confident that the gunman was operating alone. Police don't plan to release more official information until tomorrow morning. Also we have been seeing pictures, live pictures of a neighborhood and it appears they are focusing in a home. We have been learning information from our Deborah Feyerick and also there it is right there -- live pictures from our affiliate, WISN.
Also learning from Deborah Feyerick and Susan Candiotti that they have executed a search warrant on this man's home. Those live pictures playing out.
Alex Manning here, a law enforcement expert; Alex tell us what is happening here as they are executing this warrant. What's going on? How does this take place?
ALEX MANNING, LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERT: Well, it looks like they're being extra pre-cautious, mostly probably based on what happened in Colorado; using extreme safety to go in, especially for officers' safety. They're going to secure the scene first, and then get some officers in there to start searching.
They're going to go through that with a fine-tooth comb and one thing they're going to head straight forward I'm sure is his computer.
So many people today search the computer; it doesn't seem like anyone goes to the public library anymore to figure out how to make bombs and et cetera they -- they search it on Google or in YouTube and figure out how to do it.
They're obviously checking the scene for any kind of explosive devices and looking out, number one, for officer's safety. And my heart goes out to those officers. It makes me miss being a police officer. And I've lost so many friends in the line of duty that my heart and prayers go out to the families of those police officers.
LEMON: Absolutely, we're glad to have you here. Thank you very much.
Stick by, we're going to continue with you also with Rajwant Singh, who is a Sikh and he's going to be adding his perspective on this; giving his very nuanced perspective and we've gotten great information from him, but our Deb Feyerick is working on the investigation.
Deb, what are you hearing?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Don and Rob, what we're hearing is that clearly the fact that they've got a search warrant on this home means that the FBI, law enforcement, they know the identity of the shooter. They are not releasing the identity of the shooter. But you can bet they are well on their way to figuring out exactly who this person was. Why he did what he had to do.
As you heard of course they're going to be looking at the computers. They're going to be looking for any kind of forensic evidence that they possibly can.
We're also told by a member of the Sikh community that in fact the shooter was not somebody who was known to the community when he burst in. It appears he targeted a small prayer room where prayers were just ending after a celebration reading of the holy book, which they had been doing for three days.
Now the families are going to hospitals, they're still trying to figure out the status of those who were hurt, those who were injured and those who were killed. We do know that two police officers -- this gunman tried to shoot and kill two police officers. Both listed -- well, one of them, I should say excuse me, listed in critical condition. He's been in surgery we're told. They're not releasing the name of that police officer either. But according to police, that officer was ambushed by the gunman as he ran from the temple. Another police officer tried to open fire after he himself was fired upon. So the seriousness in this is significant, obviously.
Also, we are told that in fact, several witnesses are being questioned and one of those -- one of those who was shot and killed according to a community member, that was a priest. That was somebody who had just finished the celebration reading the holy book. So the community right now, they are in considerable shock. They have not gathered. They are just trying to figure out exactly what happened and why it happened. But now we do know law enforcement getting a lot closer to understanding who this person is -- Don, Rob.
MARCIANO: Well, we're starting -- we're really starting to hear the stories of heroism now coming out of there both on the -- on the police force's part and the people that are inside.
We've got Ted Rowlands on the ground. We're going to get to him with some fresh information about this break. Stay with us.
MARCIANO: Our coverage continues all afternoon long. If you've been following we've been hearing from witnesses, we've been hearing from family members of some of the victims, some of whom were shot inside that temple just south of Milwaukee.
Take a listen -- take a listen to some of the stories we've heard.
LEMON: All right. Apparently, there's an issue with that. We'll get to it. Again, it's breaking coverage here and of course, that happens, right?
MARCIANO: It does -- it does happen.
LEMON: And as you mentioned we have Ted Rowlands, right.
MARCIANO: Ted Rowlands on the ground, who's also been talking -- following the police activity and also talking with the survivors and the family of some of the victims that were inside there. Ted, what can you share with us right now?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rob and Don, this is obviously a fluid investigation that continues with the execution of that search warrant at this hour. We have seen SWAT team members searching a field adjacent about a quarter mile away from the temple as well with dogs and drawn guns; obviously, traversing in a very methodical manner, an area behind the temple, searching for evidence.
Whether they are doing that on information they've received from possibly the suspect's family or something else, we don't know, but we do know this. Is that there are a lot of officers from multiple agencies out here scouring the grounds around this temple searching for any information they can get.
Getting information from inside the temple has been very difficult. We were fortunate enough however to talk to Kanwardeep Kaleka. He's a member of the temple here. He was on his way here when the shooting took place and he's being used as an interpreter to talk to eyewitnesses, to talk to police.
Take a listen to what he says about the shooter and what happened inside the temple.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KANWARDEEP SINGH KALEKA, SIKH TEMPLE MEMBER: My gut is that there's probably just one. There are just some accounts that conflict in a way that maybe there's two in terms of hearing multiple gun shots. So they hear gun shots in the immediate vicinity, and there's a question of whether it's an echo, or gunshots of the policemen or another gunman.
ROWLANDS: And now you did also hear witness testimony on the actual shooter. You're saying that according to witnesses, he had a 9/11 tattoo. He was Caucasian male. What else can you tell us about this witness that you heard from witnesses, the shooter?
KALEKA: I mean basically, he was fairly tall, around six-foot; he was wearing a white t-shirt and black pants; and in terms of actual description, supposing he might have been driving a red car. We can get a license plate on it. But yes and that's pretty much what we understand up to this point.
ROWLANDS: Set the scene for us. Tell us about the layout of the temple and what witnesses have told you in terms of where the shooting took place. This was about an hour before most of the people would be arriving for the 11:30 service.
Tell us what you can in terms of what you heard on what happened.
KALEKA: So essentially, the temple is located just off the street. There's a large parking lot, one you drive in a little bit and when the gunman opened fire right at the entrance of the parking lot and killing at least one, if not two people there. The gunman proceeded to enter and I'm not sure where the shots were fired that the point. It might have been in this area just outside what we call Gurdwara Hall (ph) or the religious room, where we keep our holy book and where people pray.
And people from the kitchen had heard it and they fled and then I guess he went into the holy room and opened fire on some individuals there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROWLANDS: That was Kanwardeep Kaleka who was closest to an eyewitness than we've heard from so far, Don and Rob, telling us exactly what those witnesses have told police.
A number of people are still in an adjacent bowling alley from the temple. They're being debriefed, still at this hour now seven plus hours from when the shooting took place. Telling police exactly what happened. There's a language issue, so that's why they are bringing in interpreters from the temple to help with this investigation. The bottom line here it looks like one suspect, however, investigation continues.
MARCIANO: Ted Rowlands, live for us on the ground there in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Thanks Ted.
LEMON: Yes we're having a fascinating conversation about Sikhism with someone who is a Sikh and an expert. And many of you have been saying you want to hear more about this. I have heard you. We're going to talk more and we're going to put the rundown away in all of us. We're going to have the conversation.
And wherever that leads -- there he is -- wherever that leads that's where we'll go because I think it's a -- it's a time for all of us to learn more about each other on the other side of the break.
MARCIANO: Deb Feyerick, want to get right to her. She's been working her sources and has some new information she wants to share with us.
FEYERICK: Yes. And you know, one of the things you have to keep in mind is this temple is now an active crime scene. So, really the state as it was, when the shooting ended, is really the state it exists in right now. What happened in this kind of situation is the FBI is going bring in its Emergency Response Team. And there are going to be photographers and have to basically take pictures of everything that is there. Sketch everything as it is.
The medical examiner will have to come in and look. The coroner will have to examine the bodies before they are removed and brought to the medical examiner's office.
So the bodies have not yet been moved from that temple because again, they've got to map this whole thing out. They've got to make sure that nothing is overlooked. And it's one of those things where you have to remember, this man walked in and he went directly to really what is the holy room of this Sikh temple.
So whether he had been inside the temple, perhaps the direction he moved in, that will be indicative based on some of the evidence they find. How he entered and where the victims were sitting. As I had reported earlier, we are told that a priest is among the dead and the president of the Sikh temple actually tried to tackle the gunman. He was shot in the back. He was one of those who was listed in critical condition.
So you still have people who are at the hospital who are being treated. Families are going there because they're still trying to find out the condition of their loved ones -- those who have not come home yet.
So it's just a very, very scary time for the community. They haven't even come together yet because they themselves are trying to piece together what happened this morning, really. So right now, just a great deal of shock.
But as we are told, law enforcement will come in. It will be quite some time before they're able to release the bodies to the coroner. All of that's going to have to be photographed first, the mobile crime scene really coming in just to do all the lab work -- Don -- Rob.
MARCIANO: Deb, I want to bounce off something you said there and bring in Alex Manning, who's a former police investigator. Does that all kind of jive with standard protocol? And what stands out to you as far as the set up of this temple and what you'll be looking for as an investigator?
MANNING: Absolutely. It's right in line to what they will do. They're going to go in slowly. You've got to understand, when you go into a crime scene --
MANNING: -- you take things into the crime scene; and when you leave, you take things out.
LEMON: Alex, hold that thought because this happens -- we have time cues, which everyone -- a lot of people don't understand. For a minute now, the producers have been saying just so you guys know, behind the curtain, go to our break.
We have to go to our break. This conversation's going to continue right after the break. We're going to again have a conversation. We're going to bring in our Sikh expert and also talk more about law enforcement.
Back in a moment. Don't go away.
LEMON: Watching breaking news here on CNN. We want to welcome our viewers from around the world.
We are following this shooting at a temple in Wisconsin where seven people are dead including one gunman. We have team coverage here. We have Deborah Feyerick following the investigation for us in New York; we have Alex Manning joining us on the set here in Atlanta, who's a law enforcement expert; also Eric Marrapodi, who is the co-editor of our belief blog, one of the traffic blogs on belief and religion in the world; and of course, my partner here today is Rob Marciano; and someone who, I think, is giving us a great perspective on this is Rajwant Singh, he is the chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education.
Alex, before I go to Mr. Singh, I want you to finish your thought; I so rudely interrupted you on before the break.
MANNING: That's ok. I think I heard them in my ear too. When you go into a crime scene you take things in and you bring things out, so all the investigators that have went into the crime scene have taken things into the crime scene -- on their feet, their clothing and so has, I hate to call him suspect, right now, he's the bad guy, the evil guy. The evil guy has taken things in and he's brought things out with him.
There are fibers and hairs on his clothing. They're going to show whether or not he ran through this field, so they're having to be extremely careful in everything they do.
LEMON: And the first thing you said, they're going to go through the computer here to find out more about his background and exactly what he's been looking at.
Rajwant Singh, you spoke to the White House.
RAJWANT SINGH, CHAIRMAN, SIKH COUNCIL ON RELIGION AND EDUCATION: Yes.
LEMON: You -- the President has released a statement. I think one of the most important things he said is that we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs. This is a great time for us to have a conversation and learn more about each other.
And let's talk about that word that gets so many people so riled up. What are your thoughts on this and terrorism and jumping to conclusions about terrorism, domestic terrorism or whatever?
SINGH: I think it's you know, I agree with it. It's really jumping to conclusion and secondly, the word "terrorism" is very misleading in this tragedy because, you know, terrorism is either by -- committed by somebody who has had a resentment or he's against somebody or there's some anger or some issues here.
What we need to understand is the basic problem that has faced our community for the last 11 years and also facing this country is that there is so much ignorance. People do not have much perspective outside of America. Unfortunately, media has a role to play in that and many of the political commentary, which is going around, which we recently saw with Secretary Clinton's secretary being claimed as some plant by -- so anyway, the point is that there is so much ignorance and there's a hysteria.
There's a hype created against the Muslims and made them somehow the victims and that they are somehow working against -- Muslims are working against America. So we are the side victim of this back and forth dialogue which is taking place in the country. There is -- because of our appearance, now, if you want to go out and see a Muslim, you will not find, how would you identify a Muslim in the crowd? You will identify a Sikh and we look like a Muslim. And that's the problem where this whole thing boils down to.
MARCIANO: Mistaken identity and in some cases misplaced hatred, I would think.
MARCIANO: Mr. Singh, I've been in awe somewhat in the way the community there has reacted to this. I mean we've talked to families of the victims. We talked to some eyewitnesses and the remarkable amount of calm that they've portrayed is stunning to me. Is that something you would expect?
SINGH: Absolutely. You know, there is a concept in our faith. We call it (inaudible); which means to remain in high spirits in the face of any tragedy, any challenge or any value in life. So it is a very, very tragic moment, but you know, the Sikh community has gone through many, many years of persecution since its formation last 500 years.
So it is a very immense tragic time for us, but at the same time, our faith gives us the guidance how to handle a crisis like this. And still be able to stand up on your feet and be a helping hand in the society.
So, I would like to say that in coming Sundays, please, all Americans, come to the Sikh temple, taste the hot vegetarian tasty meal because that's what we like to share with all Americans. And that's what the whole faith is all about.
LEMON: That was -- thank you Rajwant Singh. Don't go anywhere. Rob, that was a great question and in the face of this tragedy, to hear someone invite someone into their particular faith and into temples around the country, I think it's amazing.
And for people not be upset -- the people are saying, we're not upset. We don't know why this happened, we are not upset, but are worried about the people who were affected by this. Our conversation continues on the other side of the break.
LEMON: Back now with breaking news. Seven people killed in a shooting in Wisconsin at a temple. One of those dead is the gunman. I'm joined here by Rob Marciano at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
Three of those people still in the -- there are three people still in the hospital in critical condition, one of those including an officer who was on the scene and exchanged gunfire with that suspect.
Again, this is breaking news. Alex Manning also joining us here in Atlanta to give her expertise as a veteran law enforcement person.
And also in New York, Deborah Feyerick is following the investigation for us.
Rajwant Singh is the chairman of the Council of Sikh Religion and Education.
And also Eric Marrapodi is the co-editor of the CNN Belief Blog.
Eric, I want to go to you. Just before the break, you heard Rajwant Singh talking about inviting people into the temple on Sunday. And that's pretty amazing instead of drawing from anger and saying that, you know, this must happen, that must happen, come in, understand us, let's talk about this. Get to know us.
ERIC MARRAPODI, CO-EDITOR, CNN BELIEF BLOG: Yes, for Sikhs, this is a very important part of their faith, in sharing in this communal meal. It's talked about as a great equalizer, that kings and paupers would come together to celebrate this meal together.
And so you're really going to see, I think, an outpouring from the Sikh committee of trying to bring folks together from all different faiths and all different walks of life. And in particular in this country, when you're a religious or ethnic minority, I think it's important to have those doors open. And in the wake of a horrible shooting like this, I think there will be a temptation for a lot of faith groups to maybe want to lock those doors, to try to prevent things from happening. But hearing Mr. Singh say no, we're going to open our doors and we want to invite people to come in.
I think that's an encouraging step for this community and something I think we'll see a lot more of, kind of moving forward here in the weeks, as Sikhs wrestle with how to respond to this and how the faith communities will have to try to come together to respond as one.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Mr. Singh, getting back to you and your community there, how do you think the Sikh community is going to respond as a faithful whole?
RAJWANT SINGH, CHAIRMAN, SIKH COUNCIL ON RELIGION AND EDUCATION: Well, we are going to call for a candlelight vigil in all the Sikh gurdwaras across the nation and, in fact, across the world.
And secondly, on Sunday, we will open the doors for all our neighbors and people of all faiths to come and see who we are. There's a -- it's just a great mystery about who -- our faith and who we are. So that needs to be lifted and we are normal human beings and normal Americans, going about, you know, doing our business.
And you know, one thing I just want to tell, that be aware, we are very fun-loving people. So that's something which we want people to see, that we -- in the face of every tragedy, the Sikhism has been strengthened by every tragedy. So we are praying that we will have the embrace of the entire community around the Sikh gurdwaras.
LEMON: Yes. I think it's great in this, you know, with all of this going on, this incredible tragedy with people dead, that -- to have a sentiment of outreach and opening up your heart and getting to know, rather than what we see so many times, people going, my goodness, this shouldn't happen. This caused this. This is the reason why this happened.
The best way to deal with this, at least in the coming days, will be to understand each other and try to figure out exactly what happened.
We don't know what caused this person to go into this temple and do this, but the best way to do it is to do what we're doing now, and that's sit down, look each other in the eye as much as we can. We know, Mr. Singh, that you are on by satellite and had these conversations.
And we're going to continue this conversation. Let's take a quick break, so that we can talk more. More developing news here on the temple shooting in Wisconsin. Our conversation continues on the other side of the break.
MARCIANO: Welcome back. We continue our coverage of the breaking news of the shooting inside that Sikh temple just south of Milwaukee, ongoing throughout the day, the first 9-1-1 calls came in at around 10:15 local time, am, and since then, it's been a developing story.
We've heard from witnesses, from families of the victims, seven deceased victims in total, one being the shooter and then three still in the hospital.
We want to get to Deb Feyerick, who's been covering the story from New York and going through her sources.
You have some new information, Deb?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Rob and Don, you know, one of the things that the FBI is going to have to prove is whether in fact this was domestic terrorism or whether it was just a random criminal act. And so that's going to take a lot of time, a lot of effort, to piece this all together.
Authorities are right now searching what they believe to be the gunman's home. They have identified him. They are not releasing his identity to the public yet. They want to go through computers to find out why he did what he did, whether in fact he had been inside that temple earlier, you know, the way he moved through that temple.
When he exited the temple, he was confronted by a police officer, and the police officer, he ambushed one of them. Another, he fired at and that officer fired back and killed him.
Right now, the evidence response team, the FBI's evidence response team is making its way to the temple. They've got to get on scene. The bodies are still where they fell. They've got to photograph those bodies. They've got to plot the gunman's path, where he went, how he made his way through that.
They're going to be bringing in equipment to map out the entire area and recover whatever evidence they can, whatever forensic evidence they can get before the coroner is even allowed to come in and get those bodies.
So everything is still very active, everything very ongoing, authorities searching the home, evidence response team going to the temple and families at the hospitals, desperately trying to find out exactly what is going on. Rob, Don?
LEMON: Deb Feyerick in New York, Deb, thank you very much, and, Deb, you don't have to wait for us to call on you. If you have any information, just jump in and jump in on the conversation. Also, if you have any questions of Alex or me or for Eric and Rajwant Singh.
I want to get back to Rajwant Singh and continue our conversation. Again, tell our viewers that Rajwant Singh is the chairman of Sikh Council on Religion and Education, and he's been offering us great perspective.
It's tough to hear, I'm sure, as a Sikh, to hear about the bodies and the investigation and what's going on in the face of this tragedy.
What are you thinking about when you hear Deborah talk about the insight and the investigation?
SINGH: It is an immense tragedy for the community, and to see the granthi -- what we call as the granthi is sometimes referred as a priest. You know, these people are so humble people. They are always so helpful. And the service which was taking place was to celebrate some child's birth. And we do read our scriptures, which are written in a musical form.
It's all in poetry, so people recite the Sikh scriptures. And we call it Guru Granth Sahib. So to have somebody come there and kill these people, who are trying to praise God and singing God's praises, it's just unthinkable. And I think it's an American tragedy, it's not a Sikh tragedy, because it's -- you know, America is a place for every person to feel the freedom of their religion.
And to have that interrupted, it's a great tragedy and I feel sorry for the person and many other young people who may not have the full understanding of all the faith communities which are enriched by American dream and yet they have prejudices.
And so it's -- I can't -- and I feel that it's a great service that you are doing. You are -- I can't even tell you how many lives you are saving by having me to come and give some understanding to fellow American brothers and sisters about Sikhism.
LEMON: Yes. And I think, also as you said, there's a lot of misinformation, a lot of ignorance about Sikhism and really about any faith group, any other religion that is -- what we deem as the norm here in America that's, you know, being a Baptist or Catholicism or Judaism, whatever it is.
But as you said, Mr. Singh, we are all Americans and that's what we're all made up of different types of religion. We're all different here.
And instead of, as we were looking at the pictures and you were talking, you were saying these words of peace and calm and these insightful words, yet we're looking at a crime scene or a scene where police are looking at the suspect's home there.
And instead of this rattling on and on and on and repeating information that we don't, that we've just found out about and saying it over and over, we're trying to educate people.
What I want to speak to you about is the misinformation and the information about Sikhism and other Eastern religions after 9/11, and what you have had to deal with. We'll talk about that. We're going to take a quick break and we'll have Rajwant Singh and the rest of our group here, our team coverage, in just a moment.
LEMON: Don Lemon here, along with our Rob Marciano, continuing coverage now of the temple shooting in Wisconsin.
Let's get back to Rajwant Singh.
Mr. Singh, I was asking you about the frustration. What's your number one frustration, especially after 9/11?
SINGH: Well, one of the main issues that we faced as a community was that not too many people know about our faith. And because of our appearance, having a turban and beard, which was mistaken -- and, you know, there was so much media attention and so many pictures shown of bin Laden.
And I remember those days when we sent out an advisory to all the Sikh gurdwaras that all the priests should not go out and they should be very careful. You know, so it -- we went through that, I would say, an era of terror. And we were so surprised that we would have to face this kind of situation in America.
And so, we -- there are many new organizations came into existence and they've done tremendous work, and they're trying to educate the police departments, the homeland security and the elected officials, but the work is so immense, because there is very -- we all believe in sound bites. We just want to get the small story and move away with everything new coming up.
We don't understand how many people are victimized by tragedies and yet their face or their stories never show up in the media.
LEMON: Absolutely, and this is a tragedy and there's -- we can show a video from the scene now, where they're looking for that suspect's home. They've executed a search warrant as we're speaking here and learning more information about Sikhism from Rajwant Singh.
That's video from our affiliate, WTMJ. They're still on the scene there. It's actually live -- it's live from the house, from the suspect's home that they are looking for. And as our Alex Manning said, first thing they're going to do is look at that computer.
Deborah Feyerick in New York, she's following the investigation, but she -- Deb, the reality of all of this is that they're going to have to lay six people to rest here, six --
FEYERICK: Yes, absolutely -- and that was a question I had for Mr. Singh, because I know that there are some religions, for example, where the bodies have to be buried within 24 hours. Autopsies are not permitted, they're not allowed.
And so I'm curious, obviously, the Sikh community now has the serious responsibility of burying six members of the community, including what's reported to be one priest.
What -- how do you balance that with the needs of the criminal investigation, for example?
SINGH: Well, we don't have that kind of restrictions in our faith. In fact, there are very few restrictions. We are founder of our faith. One thing which He taught us, never to believe in all kinds of rituals or dogmas or superstitions. So there is no superstition or dogma about the body. If something needs to be investigated, then it will be fine.
And we cremate our bodies so -- and there will be a prayer, there will be a three-day prayer of the Sikh scriptures. And we will be in touch with the Wisconsin community to find out when that is going to take place. But otherwise, it's just basically a cremation and a simple ceremony of reading the prayers and singing God's praises and blessing the soul, the departed soul.
FEYERICK: OK. Thank you, Mr. Singh.
LEMON: Yes, thank you, Mr. Singh and Deb Feyerick.
Again, we have team coverage here. And we are just talking here. Put the rundown down. No more words up on the screen and we're just going to talk to Eric Marrapodi, who is the co-editor of our belief blog. He's going to weigh in in just moments as well.
Obviously, Rajwant Singh joining us and Rob Marciano and Alex Manning, law enforcement expert here, Deb Feyerick in New York. We're going to continue our breaking news coverage that's happening out of Wisconsin, a temple shooting. We're back in a moment.
MARCIANO: Recapping the latest on the deadly shooting in a temple in southern Wisconsin, a police officer shot, a man dead, who had opened fire on a Sikh temple just outside of Milwaukee, across the southern part of that state.
The gunman, however, had already killed six people there, and we're still waiting to hear about who that gunman is. The police have not released that information. They're searching his home or will be shortly.
The investigation is underway throughout that temple, and that's a long, drawn-out process. We'll talk more about that as we go through. The police themselves are treating this as, quote, "domestic terrorism," the FBI involved. We'll continue our conversation after this short commercial break.
LEMON: Continuing our coverage now, let's get some live pictures from Wisconsin, where they are executing a search warrant on that suspect's home. Our affiliate following that, there we go; WTMJ on the scene. And they're doing a live report now. But there we go. They are executing a search warrant now.
We want to talk now -- continue to talk with Rajwant Singh also with Alex Manning, Eric Marrapodi and let's get to Deborah Feyerick.
LEMON: -- on live now. FEYERICK: Yes, sorry. I didn't mean to be waving there to all of you.
LEMON: That's OK. It's breaking news. Go for it.
FEYERICK: I do want to bring you -- I do want to bring you some additional information that we are getting, is that when they execute that search warrant, they're going in there. They're also looking for guns and explosives.
But one thing they are doing, just as a precautionary measure, is they are knocking on neighbors' doors and they're asking neighbors to leave the homes. They just want to make sure that that area is safe, again, it's just a precautionary measure.
Also they have got to talk to the neighbors. They've got to talk to the neighbors to find out exactly what is going on, whether they knew this person, whether he'd made any kind of statements. But we are being told that they are evacuating some of the homes in that area, Don.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Deb Feyerick.
Alex Manning here, a law enforcement expert. You had a question for Rajwant Singh?
MARCIANO: She brought up an interesting point, which is are these temples or gurdwaras a similar structure across the country and why were you curious about that?
ALEX MANNING, LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMENTATOR: I believe they were in the holy room, I believe Mr. Singh was referring to, I don't know if the actual floor plan are all similar in the temples where as -- did this man go directly to this room?
Did you have to go through several corridors to get through it or would simply walking through the front door, would he have seen this room and went straight to that room? Or would he have had to have been familiar with the layout of this building?
LEMON: Intent, right? Is that what you're trying to figure out?
Go ahead, Mr. Singh.
SINGH: Yes, basically every Sikh gurdwara across the nation will have similar structure. As we enter the facility, we take off our shoes, so there will be a shoe room on either side. And then we go into the lobby. And that's where usually we give donations to any charity or to the gurdwara or anything.
And then we directly walk into the prayer room, the central room, where the holy scriptures are placed in a high pedestal area. And on the side of -- either on the left or the right, you will have a small stage, which will have three or four people singing the prayers and singing the hymns of the Sikh scriptures. And then, either on the backside of the holy Guru Granth Sahib, the high pedestal where the Sikh scriptures are placed, you will have a resting place of the scriptures. They are treated like a royal king. It's very much similar to the way Torah is treated in the Jewish tradition.
LEMON: So to get to this room, would you have to be familiar with it? Or is it something that -- I think that's what she's asking. In order to get here, would you have to be familiar with the layout of this temple and if it's the same, pretty much, across the board everywhere?
SINGH: It's pretty much the same. There's -- it's the most prominent. As you walk into the building, you will find that the prayer room will be right there. Some people even -- may not even have a door to enter into this central room in the Sikh gurdwara.
SINGH: And if -- I am suspecting -- assuming that there was an activity taking place there, as he saw people. And most of the time, the people, where they're preparing the food for the community meal, either it's in the basement or adjacent room. So as you enter the Sikh facility or Sikh gurdwara, you will automatically go into the central prayer room.
LEMON: Yes. And you are looking at live pictures now outside that temple in Wisconsin. And someone is getting obviously some news about the information. You can see the American Red Cross, always on the scene when we have these tragedies.
Eric Marrapodi, thank you so much for joining us.
Debra Feyerick, with the investigation, we really appreciate it. We're on top of this.
Alex Manning here with us in Atlanta, a law enforcement expert , for helping us, guide us through this.
And I really want to say thank you to Rajwant Singh. You have added some just priceless information and context. And we appreciate you and we will join more -- we'll have more with you a little bit later on on CNN. In the meantime, I'm Don Lemon.
MARCIANO: And I'm Rob Marciano. You've been watching the CNN NEWSROOM. Don will be back here at 10 o'clock -- or 9 o'clock Eastern time for more special coverage.