From August 6th until Friday, August 10th, 2012, the United States of America flag has been flown at half-staff as a mark of respect, and in Turlock, for two different reasons.
Turlock Mayor John Lazar announced, in accordance with the Presidential Proclamation dated August 6, 2012, the flag of the United States and the State of California shall be flown at half-staff at all city owned or leased facilities effective immediately until sunset, August 10th 2012 in honor of the victims of the tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
“As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all Public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until Sunset, August 10th, 2012,” stated United States President Barack Obama in a proclamation.
On August 5, 2012, a gunman entered the Sikh Temple, located in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing 6 victims and injuring three others. The gunman was identified was Wade Michael Page, age 40, and was a United States Army Veteran. Although it was originally believed that police officers who arrived on the scene had killed Mr. Page, authorities have since reported that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Mr. Page was also known for his connections with the white supremacist movement.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, had been following Mr. Page for years and has described him as a neo-Nazi. He was said to be well-known in the white supremacist movement and neo-Nazi culture, as he actively participated on white supremacist web sites and played in bands called Definite Hate and End Apathy.
Federal Authorities are treating the attack in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, as an act of Domestic Terrorism.
The Turlock Sikh Temple, located at 1373 5th Street, will be holding a candlelight vigil from 7:30pm to 9pm on Friday, August 10th. The public vigil is open to the community and all are invited to attend.
Further, Mayor Lazar proclaimed that flags flying at half-staff will also honor Turlock area resident, California Army National Guard Spc. Benjamin C. Pleitez who was serving in Afghanistan. The flag of the United States and the State of California shall be flown at half-staff at all city owned or leased facilities effective immediately until sunset, August 10, 2012 in honor of Spc. Pleitez who died while serving his country supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Spc. Pleietez was assigned to the 649th Military Police Company, 185th Military Police Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade, Army National Guard, San Luis Obispo, and attached to the 1072nd Transportation Company, 746th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, Army National Guard, Van Nuys.
He died in Mazar E Sharif, Afghanistan, on July 27th, 2012. The Pleitez family held a memorial service for Spc. Pleitez on Wednesday, August 8th, at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Turlock. He was later laid to rest at the San Joaquin National Cemetery, located in Santa Nella.