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Maryland man detained at site of Sikh shootings after raising suspicion

A 31-year-old Severna Park man who said he is following directions from God to visit sites of tragedies in the United States was recently detained and interviewed by authorities after ammunition was found in his car outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, where a gunman killed six worshippers and himself in August, police reported.

According to an Oak Creek, Wis., police report, Joel Sinclair Corbett walked into the temple about 8:41 a.m. on Oct. 28 wearing a backpack with wires hanging out of it. Police in a nearby parking lot spotted him and drove to the temple. By the time they arrived, worshippers had also called police.

Kulwant Dhaliwal, president of the temple, said temple members have been more wary of outsiders since the shootings.

"As a part of our religion, we don't discriminate and anybody could walk into the temple and come and join the service," Dhaliwal said. "We never asked any questions until this August, and now we are vigilant."

Officers found Corbett, who has not been charged with a crime, sitting in the temple's prayer room, the report says. Searching Corbett's bag with his consent, officers found zip ties, duct tape, $4,500 in cash, a Bible and hotel receipts from across the country, the report says. The wires coming out of it were chargers for various electronics.

Outside in Corbett's car, police found four boxes of 9mm ammunition, an empty case for a Glock handgun, three bottles of gun cleaner, more zip ties and duct tape, and survival gear, the report says. They also found writings about a prior visit Corbett apparently made to the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed and dozens of others wounded by a gunman in July.

A responding FBI agent conducted an interview with Corbett and told police there was "not any immediate reason or probable cause to arrest" him. The agent said he had skimmed Corbett's writings and described them as "unusual" but "not hate-filled or threatening," according to the report.

Corbett, who earned a degree in management information systems from the University of Baltimore in 2006, told the officers God had instructed him to go to the temple, and that he is writing a book. He was released after turning over his ammunition and agreeing not to return.

Corbett could not be reached for comment. His mother, Esta Corbett, said she had not seen her son and declined to comment.

According to the police report, Esta Corbett asked police when they contacted her to give her son a medical evaluation, but they declined.

Dhaliwal said the community trusts the judgment of police and the FBI, and believes they "took care of it as best they could."

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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