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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Wisconsin Shooting Investigation Continues
Aired August 7, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 9:00 p.m. here in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and there are significant new developments to tell you about in the wake of Sunday's shooting.
There is also here in Oak Creek a quiet ongoing effort to try to come to grips with what has happened. Some of it is taking place at a makeshift memorial not far from us. People have been stopping there all day to leave a remembrance, to say a prayer or just to silently pay their respects to the five men and one woman killed Sunday morning.
There have been vigils as well and ceremonies, both religious and secular, not just to recognize the loss of six lives, but to honor the lives of six people. We're here because that healing effort and those six lives, they deserve attention. We will be doing that throughout the hour ahead.
But we also want to tell you tonight about what we have learned about their killer, Wade Page, a man motivated by hate who officials say took inspiration from the swastika. Where precisely that hate came from, where it all came together and when, we don't yet know.
We do know that one of his stops on the road to Sunday's massacre was the time he spent at the Army's Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which, of course, has a long tradition of producing heroes.
Drew Griffin has been investigating how and when Wade Page was at Fort Bragg, what his service entailed. He joins us now.
Drew, what have you found about Page's time in the military?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was not stellar. We will tell you that in a little bit.
But we wanted to focus on Fort Bragg because Fort Bragg, as you said, produced a lot of heroes, thousands and thousands of heroes. But back in 1995, it had a mark on it, on that fort, because there was the murder of a black couple outside the base, Anderson.
Three soldiers identified as neo-Nazi skinheads were caught and convicted of that crime. They basically just picked their victims for one reason. They wanted to kill blacks. The Army came under fire because it was very obvious that these soldiers were neo-Nazis. One of them even had what was described as a Nazi shrine where he was living. That led to a crackdown by the Army on trying to weed out racists in the ranks and about two dozen soldiers were kicked out. The Army found there were threads of a subculture of hate in its ranks. And they have had to, you know, address that over the years.
COOPER: Did that subculture involve Wade Michael Page? And is that where his racist views began? Do we know at this point?
GRIFFIN: There's been a lot of ink written about this just over the last few days trying to put these dots together.
It was about the same time frame that Wade Michael Page was at Fort Bragg. But we actually tracked down the original prosecutor of that crime, of the case today. He told us at the time they searched high and low for accomplices, even a bona fide hate group at the base. They found neither.
He never came across Page. Even going back mentally in his notes today, he couldn't come up with that name. Organizations that monitor hate groups do say the military can attract people who have hate- filled, you know, feelings, but there's no clear indication that Wade Michael Page had anything to do with any of these neo-Nazis that were at Fort Bragg at that time.
COOPER: He was kicked out of the Army, though?
GRIFFIN: He was kicked out, but not for hate. In 1998, he was kicked out of Fort Bragg. He was demoted sergeant down to a specialist, then kicked out because he was a drunk.
We know he tried to make it in the hate music scene, kept picking up odd jobs after getting fired. He worked in the parts department of this North Carolina motorcycle shop. This is near Fort Bragg, by the way. 2000, 2003, 2004, he worked at that shop. But his boss fired him. And I want you to listen to why.
John Tew told us this guy just had no respect for women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN TEW, FORMER BOSS OF WADE MICHAEL PAGE: The thing I remember mostly about him was the way he dressed. He dressed, in my opinion, just like the neo-Nazi-type person would dress. And he was very quiet, kept to himself, was a very efficient worker.
But then he changed a little bit. He could not interact with females. And he had a problem with female authority. And he had such a problem that I started writing him up, then eventually put him on probation. And then we eventually terminated him because he just refused to take any orders from any female.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: And his supervisor was a female.
John Tew says when Page left, Anderson, he actually left behind an application to join the Ku Klux Klan. Page came back for it. Tew had already thrown it in the trash. We also know two years ago he was fired from a trucking company after he was cited for driving while impaired -- Anderson.
COOPER: Wow. OK. Drew, appreciate that update.
Joining us now is T.J. Leyden and Pete Simi. Criminologist Pete Simi is the author of "American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate." He actually first met this man, Wade Page, in 2001 while doing a study on white power groups in Southern California, spent a lot of time with him.
And we should point out T.J. Leyden is a former white power skinhead who once recruited inside the Marine Corps. He's the co- author of "Skinhead Confessions: From Hate to Hope."
Pete, as part of your research into the white supremacist movement, you met and you spent a lot of time with this guy, Wade Page, over the course of two years, from 2001 to 2003. What did you make of him back then? Do you know how he got involved in this movement and what role, if any, the military played in it?
PETE SIMI, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA: What he told me during the course of our time together was that he really started to identify with the neo-Nazism during his time in the military.
And specifically, what he told me at one point was that if you join the military and you're not a racist, then you certainly will be by the time you leave. And what he meant by that was that he felt like he learned while he was in the military that the deck was stacked against whites. And he came to feel there was preferential treatment for African-Americans in the military and whites were always on the short end of the stick.
And the more he got into the Nazi ideology, the more he came to see all of society in that way, and this feeling that, you know, whites were just constantly on the short end of things and that everything was set up against whites to be successful.
And -- but he did indicate to me pretty clearly that, you know, he knew about neo-Nazis and racist skinheads prior to joining the military, but that he really started getting into it during his time in the military.
COOPER: I mean, it's strange because the military has very strict rules about discrimination and how people should be treated. Was your sense that that was just an excuse on his part for being a loser, for not making it the way he had hoped?
SIMI: Well, yes, certainly, you know, people are very creative and find lots of different ways to try and explain their personal shortcomings and personal failures.
And certainly this -- you know, when we scapegoat other groups for these things, you know, that's a common thing that folks in this movement do, as well as in other extremist movements as well. COOPER: T.J., you were involved with the white power movement you say while you were actually in the Marines. Explain that connection. I mean, again, I thought the military has very strict rules on how you have to treat other people. What did you see?
T.J. LEYDEN, STRAIGHT TALK CONSULTING: Well, when I was in the Marine Corps, I joined the Marine Corps basically to get away from going to jail and getting in trouble.
But while I was in the Marine Corps, I used to hang a swastika flag on my wall locker. And everybody in my unit all the way up to my commander knew it. The only time they ever asked me to take it down was when the commanding general would come down just so they wouldn't get in trouble.
And, afterwards, I would put it right back up and they were perfectly fine with it. But contrast that with my brother's unit, where my brother, his commander went through the barracks and anything that was racist or seemed to be racist, he made them send it home.
It really depends on the commanding officers and who's in charge of that base.
COOPER: What do you think is the appeal, T.J., of the military for people who may have these beliefs? I mean, is it to get some kind of training, to have some sort of a racial holy war or whatever they call it?
LEYDEN: It is. It's for the RAHOWA, the racial holy war.
We have the best trained military in the entire world. And you look outside every major military installation, you will have at least two or three active neo-Nazi organizations actively trying to recruit on-duty personnel.
Along with myself, Hunter Glass, Scott Barfield and a few others, we have been trying to get the military to wake up to this for at least the last 10 years. The military's very slow on the ball right foul as far now as far as actually getting us to come on and train the higher-ups.
I wish they would to hopefully give them a better sense of what they're dealing with.
COOPER: Pete, you say, from the time you spent with this guy, that you saw he had serious problems with alcohol.
SIMI: Yes, excessive drinking throughout the time I knew him to the point of he had a hard time, you know, making it to work when he was working and passing out on a regular basis.
At one point, he passed out at an airport on the way to a music show and wasn't able to get on the flight because he was so drunk. And this actually towards the end of his time in Southern California actually became somewhat of a problem with him and some of his peers in the movement, because it was, you know, preventing him from holding down a job and being able to pay his share of the rent.
And he was starting to kind of sponge money off of people and so forth.
COOPER: Pete, I mean, was he -- was he a smart guy? I mean, was he able to actually kind of discuss his viewpoints? I mean, and argue his viewpoints? Because I spent time with some folks in the white power music scene as a reporter back in the late '90s and one or two of them would be able to argue and discuss, you know, their positions. The others just seemed kind of like boneheads.
SIMI: He'd be one of the one or two. He -- in contrast to some folks who really -- can't really, you know, structure an argument very well or don't have much of anything to say as far as trying to present evidence, you know, whether it's accurate or inaccurate is another issue but, you know, page was able to do that. Page was able to talk about things and he actually really enjoyed talking about things. He was never hesitant about having me around, knowing that I was doing research. He actually seemed to kind of enjoy it and appreciate it. And I think at times he actually, you know, thought he might be able to convert me.
COOPER: T.J., the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center said Page was associated with the Hammerskins which he described as the -- quote -- "scariest, most violent skinhead group out there." You were a member of this group. What is it?
LEYDEN: Well, what is it?
The Hammerskins are the elite group. Everybody wants to be a Hammerskin. I mean, to get the two crossed hammers is a -- sadly to say this, it's a badge of honor inside the white supremacy movement. And you have to earn that. You have to earn the right to wear that. And you don't get it by just, you know, going around passing out leaflets. You have to go out and commit acts of violence. You have to show that you're willing and able to commit whatever they're asking you to do.
COOPER: Pete, in your time with this guy, did you see him commit any acts of violence? I know there was a time you guys were playing pool with a white man and an African-American man. What happened there?
SIMI: It was -- you know, we were playing doubles pool and drinking a few beers at a local bar in Southern California, and everything was very cordial. Everything was very polite. You know, small talk. We were strangers with the other two guys. But we engaged in small talk throughout the game of pool and afterwards everybody shook hands and went their separate ways.
I never saw him engage in an act of violence. I do know that during the time I knew him that he got into a bar fight at one point and actually didn't do so well. And was around him at another point in time at a bar where another individual recently released from prison who was a neo-Nazi skinhead who was really kind of agitated and kind of somewhat of a firecracker, was looking to get into a fight at this bar, and Page actually remained pretty calm and cool and collected throughout that evening.
COOPER: Well, Pete Simi, I appreciate you talking about the guy you knew back then. And T.J. Leyden, thank you for your perspective.
I also just want to point out again that neither our guests, nor we, are suggesting that these crazy white power beliefs are rampant in the military. They're of course isolated incidents. It's a very small subculture. But serious of course but isolated from all the research we've been able to see.
We're on Facebook. Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting in this hour ahead. We're joined next by a woman who actually helped raise this killer, talking about where she thinks he began drifting into a world of racism and hate.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: The Sikh Temple shooter's neighbors, the downstairs neighbors, described the man she briefly knew as creepy and quiet. Jennifer Dunn, a psychiatric nurse with two daughters, tells the local paper here -- quote -- "He made no eye contact. That's an abnormal thing."
Late last week, she says he began blasting his stereo. Then on Saturday, she tells the paper he spent about 10 minutes pacing around his truck staring out into space. One of her daughters telling her -- quote -- "The dude is acting strange."
And joining me now is a woman who says she knew a very different Wade Page, his ex-stepmother, Laura Page, who joins us now by phone.
Miss Page, I can't imagine what the last couple of days have been like for you. When you first heard this news, when you first heard that your former stepson had gone on this rampage what went through your mind?
LAURA PAGE, FORMER STEPMOTHER OF WADE PAGE: I was appalled. I was totally -- it was unbelievable. I guess in a lot of ways it's still unbelievable. Even though I keep seeing everything.
COOPER: How long were you involved in his life? When was the last time you saw him?
PAGE: I hadn't seen Wade since about 1999. But prior to that, from 1980, up to that point, I was involved in his life.
COOPER: So the last time you saw him, he was what, about 18 years old?
PAGE: No, he was a little bit older than that. He was -- had already come back to Colorado and was...
COOPER: OK. PAGE: He -- at that point, he was already out of the military and we didn't know that.
COOPER: Oh, you didn't know he was out of the military? Did you know why he had been kicked out of the military?
PAGE: No. Did not know that he wasn't in the military. At that point, we thought he was still in the military. The last time I saw him.
COOPER: We're -- and we're now finding out about ties he had to the white supremacist movement. Did at the time you know anything about that? Were you aware even that he held these kind of views? PAGE: No, absolutely not. Knew nothing about it. Had no indication.
COOPER: I read an interview...
PAGE: There was never any indication that he had this -- these feelings or thoughts.
COOPER: I read an interview you did with a local station in Denver in which you said that your gut feeling was that his racist views might have been formed while he was in the army. Can you expand on that? What makes you think that?
PAGE: Because he was -- prior to that, everything I have ever known about Wade was kind and gentle and loving and -- none of those things. And that went up through his teenage years. And I can't figure out where that came from. I really can't. Unless it took place while he was in the military.
COOPER: So as a teenager, he didn't express any kind of hostility, two people of different races or different...
COOPER: -- religious beliefs or anything like that?
PAGE: Never. When he lived with us in Texas, he had Hispanic friends and he had black friends and, you know, I never, ever heard him say anything derogatory about another race or anyone. All I can keep saying is -- repeating is how kind and loving and gentle he was.
COOPER: So he actually had friends who were African-American or Hispanic?
PAGE: Yes, yes, he did, as a teenager, yes, he did.
COOPER: When the pictures that have now been shown of him in front of, you know, a swastika and the like, when you saw that, I mean, how do you reconcile the kid you knew with those images?
PAGE: It's like I don't even know that person. It's not someone that -- it's not someone that I ever could possibly know or be associated with. When I saw the very first picture of him, I would not have known him. Had they not said that that was Wade.
COOPER: And we're told now in the military he had a drinking problem and also subsequently that he drank a lot. As a teen, was that an issue at all?
PAGE: Never. No, sir. Never at all. No, all of these things have come up...
COOPER: Well, Laura Page again I...
PAGE: -- since then.
COOPER: Since then. Well, again Laura Page, I appreciate you talking. I know it's been a really difficult time for you and it continues to be. I appreciate you telling us what you know. Thank you very much.
The question of who the shooter was, it's an important one but tonight we also most importantly want to focus on the victims. Six people whose lives were lost. So many friends and family members' lives changed forever.
Coming up next, we're going to tell you the victims' stories and hear from their family members, including the son of the only woman killed in the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMAL SAINI, VICTIM'S SON: She collapsed there. She didn't have a chance. They said she was dead on the spot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Tonight, another religious community is living in fear after their mosque burned to the ground, the only mosque in Joplin, Missouri. And it's been the target of arson before -- the latest on the investigation ahead.
COOPER: Six people died in the shooting at the temple here in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, six lives lost, countless friends and family members' lives changed forever.
Want to focus on the victims to tell you some of their stories, not just how they died, tragically, violently in a place that was supposed to be about safety and sanctuary and prayer, but also how they lived.
Randi Kaye reports.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kulwant Kaur arrived at the temple with her father-in-law, Suveg Singh, just before 10:00 a.m.
They stopped to pray for about 15 minutes before Kulwant went to the kitchen to help cook. Then, she says, suddenly a 16-year-old boy yelled there was someone shooting. Kulwant locked the kitchen doors and piled into the pantry with 15 others. But not her father-in-law who was still in the main part of the temple.
KULWANT KAUR, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW OF VICTIM: I heard shooting and shooting and shooting, I don't know how many times.
KAYE: Kulwant and the others stayed locked in the pantry until the shooting stopped and the suspect was dead. She soon learned her father-in-law was dead, too.
(on camera): When you left the temple, you saw your father-in- law.
KAYE: Tell me about that.
KAYE: Tell me about that.
KAUR: I come in. Then my father-in-law is left over there. He's like this. Face this way. His legs this way. He lay down like this. And his nose is touched on the cloth.
KAYE: And he was bleeding?
KAUR: Yes, he's bleeding. A lot of bleeding over there. All bleeding. Then I see and right away I'm crying. I was, oh, my god, it's my father.
KAYE (voice-over): Suveg Singh, who was 86, used to walk to and from temple. Several miles each way, his granddaughter told me, until his health started to fail a couple of months ago.
(on camera): He was a very religious man.
SANDEEP KAUR, GRANDDAUGHTER OF VICTIM: Very. He was at the -- at our temple, gurdwara, every single day. If he could get there at 7: 00 in the morning, that's where he would be.
KAYE: And he would stay late in the night.
S. KAUR: And he would -- yes, he would stay until like, you know, 2: 00, 3: 00. You know, he would spent most of his time there with the priest and stuff.
KAYE (voice-over): Singh was a farmer in India, until he and his wife moved to Wisconsin eight years ago.
(on camera): He used to tend this garden? S. KAUR: He did, yes. He actually used to cut the whole grass up until like a -- honestly couple of months ago when his health started declining.
KAYE (on camera): Singh couldn't speak English but his family says he loved America. Sandeep Kaur says all her grandfather wanted was to be healthy enough to make it to her wedding just four months away.
What will you miss about him most?
S. KAUR: Just him being around. I think that was just -- like, you know, even if he wouldn't say anything, his presence was always here.
KAYE (voice-over): Satwant Singh Kaleka died defending his temple. At 65, he was the temple president. And with a knife, managed to slow down the shooter just enough, his family says, to save some lives.
(on camera): We don't have a picture of Prakash Singh, the youngest victim. He was a priest who moved his family and two young children to Oak Creek just eight weeks ago. Friends call him a noble soul. In sort of a strange premonition, one temple member told, "The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" that Prakash had expressed concern about dying. He was 39 and all three of his brothers died before turning 40.
(voice-over): Ranjit Singh and his younger brother, Sita Singh, both died in the shooting. The 49-year-old Ranjit had been working at the temple for 16 years and sending money back to his wife and three children in India.
Sita Singh had moved from New York City to Wisconsin just six months ago, with hopes of finding a better life for his family.
The only woman killed in the shooting was Paramjit Kaur from the pantry.
Kuan Kaur (ph) believed she heard her screaming moments before she was shot.
KUAN KAUR (PH), WITNESS: She was with the ladies. I hear. Then I said, "Oh, my gosh, somebody killed. She's screaming. Aaa. Aaa!" I said, oh, my gosh.
KAYE: Paramjit was 41 and the mother of two sons. She was gunned down in the middle of her prayers. Her boys spoke with CNN's Poppy Harlow.
KAMAL SAINI, SON OF VICTIM: She collapsed there. She didn't have a chance. They said she was dead on the spot.
KAYE: Paramjit's son, Kamal, had rushed to the temple and looked for his mom among those who survived. She wasn't there.
SAINI: I just want to know where she was laying. I want to go back and look.
KAYE (on camera): Why?
SAINI: It's the last time she was there.
KAYE (voice-over): She and her family came to the U.S. about eight years ago. Every week, she came to the temple to pray and prepare food for the shared meal.
COOPER: Randi Kaye joins me now live. I understand that two young men we just saw, they actually want to get into law enforcement.
KAYE: -- Right, her boys. This has really cemented -- cemented that for them. One of them is studying criminal justice.
Their mother was everything to them, Anderson. She was selfless, they said. If there wasn't enough money for food, they ate first and she waited. And even for the last eight years, she's been saving up every penny to take them to India, and they finally all went as a family. They got to see the Golden Temple together. And they said that was just a beautiful thing, and thank goodness they had that.
But I did mention this other victim in my story, Prakash Singh. This is the man we just moved here to town eight weeks ago with his family, and he's the one who was 39 years old, who lost all his brothers by the time they turned 40 and had this strange premonition that something was going to happen to him, that he might not make it. And he was killed, gunned down.
COOPER: So many lives really forever changed, in addition to those lost. Randi, appreciate that reporting.
As Randi mentioned, the temple's president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was fatally wounded when his family says he tried to take down the shooter. He fought until his last breath for the temple and the people in it. His son, Amardeep, joins me now live.
It's good to see you again. It's kind of a dumb question, but how are you? How's your mom and your family doing today?
AMARDEEP KALEKA, SON OF TEMPLE PRESIDENT: I mean, no, not a dumb question. The grieving process is long and hard. I think many people need to kind of see it and witness it. It almost -- almost feels like everybody's joining us.
COOPER: Does it feel real? I mean, we talked yesterday about how it just doesn't feel real?
KALEKA: That's the first thing they tell you, is that it feels like a bad dream. There's a thing in our culture where we spread suffering out. Instead of having one person suffer, we have everybody come to the house. And so we've had...
COOPER: Your house was full yesterday when I was there. KALEKA: Absolutely, it doubled today. It doubled today and...
COOPER: You actually saw your father today.
KALEKA: Saw my father. Anderson, how do you learn about these things?
COOPER: A reporter.
KALEKA: But my mom...
COOPER: That was important for your mother?
KALEKA: Absolutely. She -- she wanted -- you know, we got to that point where we were actually laughing about what Dad would do and say. And she got to the point now where she was, like, "I need to see him."
And he arrived where he needed to be. And they quickly got it ready for us and worked hard, and we went and saw our father. That just -- I mean, it broke everybody down.
COOPER: You're actually even now able to tell happy stories about your dad. Because that's -- I mean, that -- for many people, that takes years, to be able to even do that.
KALEKA: You know, and for us, in our culture, it's not an end or, you know, it's not the end when somebody dies. Their soul and energy kind of traverses into the universe and helps influence other events. And...
COOPER: So you believe he will still -- in a way, he's still there, he's still out there?
KALEKA: Absolutely. In fact, I talked to Jeff Tinder (ph) who his father died in a similar tragedy in California where he was shot. He told me to this day like, you know, "an angel behind me helping me."
And in our culture, we also say -- we don't use the word "death." We say -- (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), meaning "His work is complete" or "He's complete." You know, and he is.
COOPER: One of the things we talked about yesterday is your dad, one of the first things he did when he was able to buy a house after working 18 hours a day coming to this country, working around the clock, your mom working around the clock, put an American flag right out front. And I found it sobering that he did it both as a participant in the American dream but also, he said, as a form of protection. What did he mean by that?
KALEKA: You know, he meant that we have to take some things in as a culture, so that we can blend better. And that form of, like, putting a flag in front, symbolism to the neighborhood, that we're willing to accept that dream and come into this nation just as equal as everybody else and move forward. COOPER: And he had achieved that American dream.
KALEKA: I think so -- humbly, I think so. I think, you know, he did -- I think he's highly successful. Amazing amount of people are coming to his, you know, funeral and wake. And that's a good life.
COOPER: And he raised good kids.
KALEKA: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: That's most important of all.
COOPER: The funeral's Friday. There's going to be a large funeral?
KALEKA: It's going to be an amazing gathering. It's going to be an amazing gathering. Because this is the first time this has ever been done. We're having six open caskets. Or it's going to be the choice of the families.
But of course we're setting everything up for one summit, one community, everybody to come together. And we're even going to have a media area so you're more than invited.
And we want the whole world to go through one of our meditations or sections so they understand, OK, this is the music they were playing. This is what happened. This is what's been going on. This is what Sikhs stand for.
COOPER: The other thing that we talked about yesterday, and I think it's important to just reiterate, is that you've experienced incidents in your own life where people -- that you never reported to police but where people gave you the finger driving and said things to you when you were living down in Georgia a couple years ago about, "Get out -- you know, get out of my country, go back to your country," things like that, that never get reported. I don't want to say what do you hope comes out of this, but what do you hope changes?
KALEKA: I mean, in terms of that, and I call them soft attacks -- there's like a hard attack like this or somebody -- I mean, last year, actually 18 months ago, one of my aunts was working in a gas station. She was shot point blank, and she was pregnant. Like six months pregnant. And that was a horrific story. That's a hard attack. But that wasn't a hate crime, because it could have been a robbery, even though they didn't grab anything.
But soft attacks. I want other people to talk about their soft attacks. Because essentially that will give us the pulse of the nation; that will give us what's going on.
Agencies can't do their job. Policeman can't do its job. Education can't do its job. If we're not speaking up and saying, OK, like, for example, the guy who whipped the finger at me. He hit me in the back of my car with his truck, pulled it around, and then whipped the finger at me. But it's like one of those things. It's like, do I take up the time to -- do I take up the time and then end up, you know, calling the cops and wasting an hour of my life?
COOPER: But you hope that people just come to appreciate differences and the diversity of this country more?
KALEKA: I think that's the simplest solution out there. I think the other way of, like, reporting everything is unbelievably hard.
I just hope Americans can genuinely understand other cultures and get the hate bug out of them. I mean, I played football. How many times did my coach tell me, "Oh, go kill that guy."
And I was thinking to myself, just the way I grew up, I wouldn't use that terminology. I would use the terminology of, like, "tackle that guy." You know, and we just need to rip that out of our nation.
COOPER: Appreciate you talking to us again. Thank you.
KALEKA: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: My best to your family.
Within hours of the shootings at the Sikh temple here in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a fire destroyed the only mosque in Joplin, Missouri. Investigators are not calling it arson yet, but the mosque has been a target of arson before, just over a month ago, in fact.
Muslims in Joplin say they are scared. You're going to hear from them ahead.
COOPER: Just hours after shootings at the Sikh Temple here in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, another religious community two states away was reeling from what they fear is an act of hate.
In Joplin, Missouri, the city's only mosque went up in flames and burned to the ground. Now, the investigation is still under way, but the mosque has been a target of arson before. Here's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A heartbroken and frightened father and daughter, looking at what remains of their mosque.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the prayer hall. Dining room. Classrooms.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so sad.
TUCHMAN: The rubble still smolders almost two days after this mosque burned down in Joplin, Missouri. It happened in the middle of the night, less than 24 hours after the shooting attack in the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. As you might expect, the fire that destroyed the only mosque in the community is viewed as suspicious by investigators.
(on camera) Although authorities don't yet have proof this was an arson, there was another blaze here just over a month ago. And investigators have the ultimate proof that blaze was an arson. What's that ultimate proof? Video of the guy doing it.
(voice-over) This is surveillance video of a man whose face you can see clearly setting the roof of the mosque ablaze on July 4. Despite the relatively clear video, nobody has been arrested for that attack.
And in a separate incident in 2008, the mosque sign was torched. That incident remains unsolved, as well. People in the 150-member mosque pledge to rebuild but admit they're scared.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Incidents like this, they are tragic, and they put fear in people's heart. And that's what they're meant to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was really sad. And we couldn't believe that it was happening. I mean, to us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To put it bluntly, it's a shock.
TUCHMAN: Joplin, Missouri, is the town where catastrophic tornadoes killed 158 people last spring. The city was devastated in every way. But for the most part, has come back. Now this.
Laela Zaidi is 16 years old.
LAELA ZAIDI, MOSQUE MEMBER: It is completely unlike the Joplin spirit. I mean, we hear all the time about how, like, you know, people have come together to help rebuild this town. And it's unfortunate that we have to do that because somebody else didn't want this building here.
TUCHMAN: Just one night before the attack, this mosque was the site of an interdenominational Ramadan break-the-fast dinner. Christians and Jews were inside this building with their Muslim brothers and sisters.
While we were at the site of the mosque, a member of the Mormon church came over to offer Laela's father any help the mosque might need.
NAVID ZAIDI, MOSQUE MEMBER: Thank you so much. God bless you.
TUCHMAN: Navid Zaidi says he's gotten similar offers from other people of other faiths, too.
N. ZAIDI: We have got lovely neighbors. The area churches, the synagogue. Has been just a beautiful town for us.
TUCHMAN: But reality is now sinking in. Somebody is after them. Definitely from the July 4 incident and very likely now, too. (on camera) Does it make you scared, Laela?
L. ZAIDI: I think in a sense, yes. It scares me that there are people out there who are so ignorant and uneducated, and something as simple as understanding a group of people that they would go out to harm them.
Because I mean, for all we know, that person could have felt there was someone here or what if there was someone here or what if somebody had done something as tragic as what happened in Wisconsin simply out of their ignorance. And that's what scares me most out of anything.
TUCHMAN: The Muslims of Joplin pledge to rebuild and keep the faith.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman now joins us live from Joplin. Gary, you saw that video surveillance from the July 4 attack. Is there video from this one, as well? And looking at the surveillance, you can see this guy's face. I'm -- I'm amazed they have not been able to catch the suspect.
TUCHMAN: Yes, it's really amazing, Anderson. They say they have leads, the police, but they still haven't been able to nail it down. They have a $25,000 reward for anyone who gives information that leads to an arrest and a conviction.
They know there's somebody out there who knows who this man is. This man did not live in a hole. They haven't gotten that information yet.
But inside this mosque, there were 16 surveillance cameras. Most of them were destroyed during the fire. But were all of them? We don't know the answer, because police are not telling us. They say it will hinder the investigation to disclose whether or not they have video. But they either have video of a perpetrator or they want a perpetrator to think they have video.
But this was a very devastating blaze. You can still see, 40 hours later, this blaze is still smoldering as we speak. And people in this community are just very grateful that nobody was inside this mosque when the fire started -- Anderson.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman, appreciate that, thanks very much.
We have a rare look inside the fight for Syria. Our Ben Wedeman spent the last few days in Aleppo where the battle is raging. The city is still under siege. Ben and his crew managed to get out of the city safely a short time ago. We'll tell you what he saw next.
COOPER: Want to get you up to date on what's happening in Syria. What we keep seeing over and over in Syria is that the killing can always get worse, and today it did.
Opposition activists say at least 170 people were killed across the country today. Fighting raged in the two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.
Ben Wedeman has been inside Aleppo for the last two days. It is now too dangerous to stay there. Here's why: stepped-up bombing raids like this one. Ben says fighter jets have been pounding the city, and heavy shelling has turned parts of it to rubble.
The video claims to be from two days ago. Ben has reported that Aleppo is, quote, "coming to resemble a battered -- battered urban moonscape." That's how he described it.
The U.N. pulled its monitors out of Aleppo today. Meantime, Syrian state TV aired this video, showing President Bashar al-Assad meeting with the top aide to Iran's supreme leader. The first video to surface of Assad since last month.
Earlier today, I spoke to Ben Wedeman about what he's seen.
COOPER: Ben, Aleppo still very much under siege. What did you see on the ground today?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): What we saw was lots of bombing by Syrian Air Force jets over areas that are clearly still heavily populated by civilians.
We saw one plane just making sort of run after run, first dropping very large bombs, then strafing the area. And that would be the tactic throughout Aleppo, either using these Air Force jets or firing heavy artillery into the city.
In fact, we got very little sleep last night because of the constant explosion all around the areas of the city that are controlled by the Free Syrian Army.
And even though, according to humanitarian officials, more than 200,000 people have left areas of Aleppo, there are still hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of civilians still in those areas, unable to get out.
The humanitarian situation is very difficult. Food is running low. Many people cannot afford to buy much more food, because they cannot work under these circumstances.
One man I spoke to said that he and his family of six are sleeping in the stairwell of their apartment building, simply to hide from the possibility of a shell hitting their house.
The situation is difficult. And made even more tense by the fact that many people feel and fear that the Syrian government forces, which are gathering outside of Aleppo, are about to launch an offensive to try and stop the rebellion in this city. COOPER: So I mean, heavy artillery air strikes into a -- into a city with a large civilian population. Are they -- are they hitting specific targets or even aiming at specific targets, or is this just random shelling, indiscriminate shelling?
WEDEMAN: Well, as far as when the air raids happen, they do seem to be targeting specific areas, specific targets. However, the artillery seems pretty random. It seems to be focused on sort of the neighborhoods that are near the front line.
I don't think the Syrian army has much in the way of precision weaponry, and they certainly aren't using it, if they do, in Aleppo.
COOPER: Is there any sense on which side has the upper hand right now? I mean, I think some people have been surprised at the -- the ability of the rebels to fight back. But you say the government forces may be massing for -- for an actual ground assault.
WEDEMAN: I think the government forces themselves were surprised by the voracity of the uprising in Aleppo. Because, for months and months, Aleppo was relatively quiet compared to other cities like Homs and Hamma (ph). And they were taken aback, and they were initially on the defensive.
But I think at this point the Free Syrian Army and the other rebel forces have really taken as much as they can. And now they're coming up against fresh reinforcements coming from the Pakia (ph) to the west on the Mediterranean coast and coming from the south and Damascus.
But at the end of the day, the rebels have very little in the way of heavy weaponry. In fact, they don't have any heavy weaponry. For the most part, they have assault rifles and some heavy machine guns, but that's about it. And you compare that with the government tanks, its artillery and its aircraft, they're just -- it's far from an equal fight.
COOPER: Well, Ben Wedeman, it's an extremely dangerous situation, as you know. Please stay safe. Thank you, Ben.
COOPER: There's a lot more we're following tonight. Isha's here with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNNI/CNNHN ANCHOR: Anderson, accused shooting Jared Lee Loughner today pleaded guilty to gunning down former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 other people in a Tucson parking lot. Six people died.
Under the plea deal, the government agreed to not pursue the death penalty.
Loughner has been forcibly medicated for months to treat his schizophrenia. He was ruled competent to stand trial shortly before entering his plea. The military contractor once known as Blackwater has agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle U.S. charges of arm sales and training violations. The agreement covers the sales of satellite phones in Sudan and military training to foreign governments from 2005 to 2008 which didn't have approval from the State Department or U.S. Treasury.
The Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania has changed course and is now offering to admit a teenager who was denied entry last year because he's HIV positive. The boy's lawyer said his client is considering the offer while a lawsuit filed on his behalf is going forward.
And NASA released the first color images of the surface of Mars from its new rover, Curiosity. They show a tan (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the rim of the crater where the rover touched down.
Pretty amazing stuff, Anderson.
COOPER: Isha, thanks very much. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That does it for this edition of 360, live from Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts next.