By Brendan O'Brien
OAK CREEK, Wisconsin (Reuters) - A line of hundreds of mourners curled through the gym at Oak Creek High School on Friday for a public visitation to honor the six Sikh worshippers killed by a white supremacist in a shooting rampage at a temple in Wisconsin.
Photographs of the members of the Sikh community killed by Wade Michael Page five days ago were shown on a large screen above their caskets in the gym, which is about two miles south of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where the shooting occurred.
Sikh religious leaders led prayers and hymns, while mourners, some sobbing and embracing, looked upon the open caskets. White sheets in front of the caskets provided an area for Sikhs to gather and pray.
The visitation drew mourners from around the country and the world, with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker among those expected to attend. Private funerals will be held later on Friday.
"The love people in America have shown us has strengthened our resolve," said Dr. Manminder Singh Sethi, a temple member who helped usher mourners to seats. "This was an isolated case. We are a simple living people."
"My heart goes out to the family of the assailant too," Sethi added. "That life was also a life lost."
Some mourners wore turbans in white, yellow, black and blue. Others wore white baseball caps or simple white wraps as they made their way forward toward the caskets amid a large police presence.
"It's beautiful that everyone is coming together," said Aaron Reeve as he held his 5-year-old son's hand as they stood in line waiting to enter the gymnasium.
"He's only five, but I think it's important for him to see how people get together and that everyone is the same," said Reeve, who is from Milwaukee.
Satwant Singh Kaleka, the 65-year-old president of the congregation, was among the victims of Sunday morning's shooting. The others killed were Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Prakash Singh, 39; Paramjit Kaur, 41; and Suveg Singh, 84.
Page, 40, a U.S. Army veteran with links to racist groups, also seriously wounded three others in the shooting, including an Oak Creek police officer. Page was shot in the stomach by another officer and then shot himself in the head, authorities said.
The temple reopened Thursday after an exhaustive search by authorities investigating the attack. Investigators still have not determined why Page targeted the Sikh temple.
Dozens of vigils for the victims have been held throughout the United States this week, organized by communities and by religious leaders of several faiths. In neighboring Minnesota, flags at government buildings were ordered to half-staff on Friday in observance of the services.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Vicki Allen)
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