Washington, Aug. 8 : Many of the tattoos on Wade Michael Page, who was killed after gunning down six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, contained specific racist codes and hidden symbols that showed his commitment to White Supremacist beliefs and to a skinhead group.
Marilyn Mayo, co-director of the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism (ADL), that maintains an online database of racist symbols, revealed that tattoos on Page's body gave clues about his descent into hate.
"Symbols are an important part of this culture," ABC News quoted Mayo, as saying.
"It allows others to know you''re part of the skinhead movement and is used as a way of intimidation.
Getting a tattoo is permanent and it comes with a serious commitment. It means you''re a member, you''re part of this club and have been initiated," she said.
Page had a tattoo on his right arm below his shoulder with the number `838', which Mayo said is a coded symbol indicating membership in the Hammerskins, a skinhead group that has been accused of multiple violent crimes, including murders, since the 1980s.
According to the report, the number 838 corresponded to the letters H, C, H, an acronym for the group's motto `Hail the Crossed Hammers,' which is a reference to the group's logo.
"The tattoo is indicative of membership in the Hammerskins," the report quoted Mayo, as saying.
"Only a member would have that tattoo," Mayo said. On the back of his hands, he had tattooed the letters `W' and `P', which Mayo said is an acronym for White Power.
The ADL believes that he was a prospective member as recently as early 2011, but that his membership became official only in late 2011.