Obama asks for soul-searching after shooting

Washington: US President Barack Obama has said that mass killings like the shooting rampage at a Gurudwara in Wisconsin were occurring with "too much regularity" and should prompt soul searching by all Americans on how to reduce violence in the country.

"All of us are heart-broken by what happened," Obama told reporters at the White House, two days after a gunman opened fire on Sikh worshippers preparing for religious services, killing six before he was shot dead by a police officer.

Raising alarm over the regularity of such incidents in the US, Obama said, "I think all of us recognise that these kinds of terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul-searching and to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence."

Obama said that Americans would "recoil" in shock if it turned out that the gunman was motivated by ethnic hatred, and said he was "heartbroken" by the incident on Sunday.

"If it turns out, as some early reports indicate, that it may have been motivated in some way by the ethnicity of those who were attending the temple, I think the American people immediately recoil against those kinds of attitudes," he said yesterday.

"I think it will be very important for us to reaffirm once again that, in this country, regardless of what we look like, where we come from, who we worship, we are all one people, and we look after one another and we respect one another," he said.

"We don`t yet know fully what motivated this individual to carry out this terrible act," said the US President in response to a question at the Oval Office.

Awaiting the outcome of a full investigation of the tragic incident, Obama said on Sunday he had the chance to speak to the Governor of Wisconsin, the city Mayor, as well as leaders of the Sikh community in Oak Creek.